Two inspired substitutions from Ollie Horgan helped Finn Harps to a 3-2 win against Waterford at the RSC on Sunday.
Harps were behind until the 82nd minute of the match after Ali Coote put the Blues ahead 13 minutes in.
Horgan’s men equalised through Dave Webster with eight minutes to go. Waterford sub John Martin restored the Blues’ lead less than a minute later before Harps subs Adrian Delap and Alexander Kogler combined twice to give the Donegal men the win.
The first opportunity fell the way of Finn Harps after five minutes.
Shane McEleney’s long throw found the head of Stephen Folan, but Tadhg Ryan was able to gather without being challenged.
Three minutes later and Waterford had their first chance, as Tyreke Wilson played Michael O’Connor down the left channel, but the former Shamrock Rovers striker could only muster a weak shot which was picked up by Harps stopper Mark McGinley.
A couple of minutes later the home side took the lead, as O’Connor played a pass to Smith in the box, Smith then laid the ball on for Coote, who saw his effort deflected into the bottom corner by Harps defender McEleney.
Just before the half hour mark Waterford could have added a second goal.
Smith picked the ball up before playing a low cross for Byrne at the far post, but he couldn’t convert the ball into the net with his outstretched foot.
Five minutes later John Sheridan’s side had another chance to extent their lead, as Wilson crossed for O’Connor, but McGinley kept his close range effort from finding the bottom corner.
Other than long range, wayward efforts from Raffaele Cretaro and Ryan Connolly, and a weak header from Barry McNamee, there wasn’t many chances to speak of in the second half, until the introduction of Kogler after 79 minutes.
Just three minutes after the forward’s introduction Harps equalised, as Webster turned Barry McNamee’s corner into the arms of Ryan, who was already behind the goal line.
Less than a minute later Harps’ joy turned to despair as Waterford regained the lead.
A long ball was headed onto John Martin by O’Connor and he finished low, under McGinley to make it 2-1.
Eight minutes after coming on Kogler would start to have a real impact.
Harps’ number 30 got on the end of fellow substitute Delap’s cross before heading powerfully off the Blues cross-bar and into the net to level the scores.
However, he wasn’t finished there, as in the 90th minute he would turn provider for Delap to score the game’s winning goal.
It was Adam Foley who played Kogler down the left, he then crossed for Delap who finished past Ryan with a diving header to send the Harps bench into raptures and to ensure they returned to Ballybofey with all three points.
The win lifts Harps off the bottom of the Premier Division on goal difference while Waterford drop to eighth.
Waterford don’t play again until September 4th when they welcome St Pat’s to the RSC while Finn Harps travel to the Carlisle Grounds to take on Bray Wanderers in the FAI Cup next Saturday.
Waterford: Tadhg Ryan; Jake Davidson, Robbie McCourt, Tyreke Wilson; Ali Coote, Shane Griffin, Matty Smith, Olawutunmise Sobowale, Robbie Weir; Kurtis Byrne (John Martin 80), Michael O'Connor.
Subs not used: William Longbottom, Paul Martin, Niall O'Keeffe, Alex Phelan, Dean Walsh.
Sent off: None.
Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Sam Todd, Mark Russell (Alexander Kogler 79), Shane McEleney, Stephen Folan, David Webster; Barry McNamee, Leo Donnellan, Mark Coyle (Adrian Delap 86), Ryan Connolly (Tony McNamee 79); Raffaele Cretaro (Adam Foley 57).
Subs not used: Kosovar Sadiki, Tom McDermott, Stephen Doherty.
Booked: Mark Coyle (19) ,Sam Todd (57)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Sean Grant
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Alexander Kogler (Finn Harps).
GOAAKYDJFYGGNDJVTJDJBTG— Finn Harps FC (@FinnHarpsFC) August 23, 2020