Finn Harps boost chances of avoiding playoff after thrilling win over St Pat’s

Ryan Connolly secures the points from the penalty spot at a wet Ballybofey

Adam Foley celebrates scoring Finn Harps’ first goal in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division against St Patrick’s Athletic at  Finn Park. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Adam Foley celebrates scoring Finn Harps’ first goal in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division against St Patrick’s Athletic at Finn Park. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

 

Finn Harps 3 St Patrick’s Athletic 2

Finn Harps notched up back-to-back league wins for the first time this season as they boosted their chances of avoiding the relegation playoff spot while at the same time denting St Patrick’s Athletic’s flickering European hopes in a thriller at a wet Finn Park in Ballybofey.

Harps, who led 2-0 inside 11 minutes only to be pegged back to 2-2, bagged the points thanks to a 73rd-minute penalty from Ryan Connolly.

This result moves Harps to within two points of Shelbourne, Derry City and also Pat’s.

In a cracking first half, Harps took the lead after just four minutes when Dubliner Adam Foley struck with his first goal for the Donegal club.

Harps then doubled their advantage on 11 minutes when Dave Webster sent the ball back across the face of goal Stephen Folan was on hand to get the last touch and force it over the line.

But within 60 seconds St Pat’s had pulled one back when Luke McNally rose to head home.

The Saints equalised eight minutes after the break when Donegal native Georgie Kelly latched onto a Robbie Benson cross to head firmly past Mark Anthony McGinley.

Harps then made it 3-2 in the 73rd minute through Connolly’s penalty after substitute Raffaele Cretaro was taken down by Rory Feely.

FINN HARPS: McGinley; McEleney (Delap, 83 mins), Sadiki, Folan; Webster, Connolly, Coyle (Cretaro, 67 mins), G Harkin, Russell; T McNamee (R Harkin, 67 mins); Foley (Todd, 79 mins).

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; Feely, McNally, Desmond, Griffin (McCormack, 87 mins); McClelland (King, 67 mins), Forrester, Lennon, Benson; Kelly, Gibson (Burns, 77 mins).

Referee: R Harvey (Dublin).

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