Derry bounce back

 

Derry City put last week's resignation of Felix Healy behind them to record only their third victory of the season in the north-west derby battle with Finn Harps.

And Derry, guided by caretaker manager Kevin Mahon, can point to two defensive errors that saw them get off to a superb start scoring twice within the first 12 minutes.

Finn Harps actually opened well but when goalkeeper Brian McKenna allowed an Eddie McCallion free-kick through his fingers in the 10th minute, Derry centre half, Paul Curran, was on hand to head the ball home from six yards.

Two minutes later the Donegal men were in deeper difficulty when Derry's striker, Liam Coyle, successfully held off the challenge of Gavin Dykes on the edge of the penalty area. But as Coyle appeared to slip at the vital moment, the ball broke into the path of the unmarked Sean Hargan and he hammered the ball into the net from 10 yards.

With four minutes remaining, a dangerous cross by Finn Harps substitute Kevin McHugh was superbly controlled by James Mulligan and after taking a touch, he drove the ball wide of the advancing David Platt.

Afterwards, the Derry caretaker manager made it clear that he did not wish to be considered for the job. "I've my own reasons for not wanting to be considered for the job," he said. "I've agreed to act as caretaker until a new manager has been appointed but I'm delighted with the win and, hopefully, it will prove a turning point as we move up the Premier Division table.

"Obviously, as a very close friend of Felix Healy, I have mixed emotions but he always asked his players to prepare mentally for matches and that's exactly what happened.

"Many of the lads feel close to Felix, but everyone adopted a professional attitude and I felt we played very well as a unit," he concluded.

Derry City: Platt; McCallion, Curran, Hutton, Kelly; Doherty, Hegarty, Beckett, Mccann; L Coyle, Hargan. Subs: Gilmour for Kelly (22 mins), Gauld for Coyle (60 mins).

Finn Harps: McKenna; Vaudequin, Boyle, Dykes, Minnock; Mohan, Flood, O'Brien, McGrenaghan; Speak, Mulligan. Subs: McGettigan for Flood (60 mins), McHugh for McGrenaghan (71 mins), Kelly for O'Brien (79 mins).

Referee: P McKeon (Dublin).