Finn Harps 0 - 2 Sligo Rovers
- Chris McNulty
- Fri, Oct 17 2008
FINN Harps once again faltered in front of the television cameras tonight as goals from Romauld Boco and Sean Doherty gave Sligo Rovers a two-nil win in Ballybofey to pile the pressure on their relegation-threatened North West rivals.
On the night Sligo were deserving winners against a Harps side that played with a noteable lack of bite for a side in the mires of a relegation battle. With just three games remaining, Paul Hegarty's team are now in real trouble.
Tonight's game was billed as 'must win' in Donegal, but the boys in blue again failed to perform in front of the cameras as they fell to a defeat that could have far-reaching consequences around Navenny Street. Sligo, meanwhile, kept alive their hopes of Setanta Cup and European football with a win that came thanks to a pair of first-half strikes that will not have the home team scurrying for the videos over the weekend.
The Harps team showed two changes to that which earned a share of the spoils in Turner's Cross last time out. Aaron Labonte returned from injury and replaced Marc Mukendi at right-back while Stephen Parkhouse was another to return to the first eleven. In what was something of a surprise alteration, his inclusion alongside Gary Beckett in attack saw Conor Gethins drop to the bench.
Needing a win to stave off the threat of their in-form rivals, Harps started promisingly with Declan Boyle and Stephen Parkhouse both getting on the end of Shaun Holmes free-kicks, but the former headed wide and the latter's headed effort was too close to Richard Brush. In between times, Rafael Cretaro shot over from the edge of the box.
Eighteen minutes in, Sligo hit the front. Rafael Cretaro was instrumental in the build-up, providing the assist from strike-partner Romauld Boco, who beat 'keeper James Gallagher at his near post with the home defence all at sea. Parkhouse shot over at one end and Gallagher did well to save with his legs from Brian Cash at the other before Harps' hopes took a huge dent with the concession of a second goal nine minutes before the break.
Winger Sean Doherty picked up possession on the right touchline, wring-footed Shaun Holmes before delivering the ball into the danger zone. It looked as if James Gallagher would make a routine collection, but amazingly the Harps custodian was behind the line when he got his hands to it. And it could have been much worse for the struggling Donegal outfit at the interval, as Gary Beckett prevented Gavin Peers from making it three - blocking his thundering drive on the goal-line after Harps failed to avert the danger from a corner.
The introduction of Conor Gethins for Beckett added a much-needed impetus to the Harps attack, but the Lifford native fired wide after being played in by Parkhouse shortly after Funston had one deflected over after Breen's cross caused trouble.
Seamus Coleman could have netted Sligo's third only for the ball falling to his left foot, while Mauro Almeida - who scored the winner at the same venue earlier in the season - forced Gallagher into a fine save after he connected with Ventre's cross.
Gethins riffled into the side-netting as Harps searched for a way back into the contest, while Rafael Cretaro shot over from Boco's pass at the other end. The pedestrain hosts struggled to create anything of note in the closing chapter as Sligo went onto record a treble of wins over Harps, who now look in serious bother with Galway taking a precious victory a home to Bray Wanderers.
Finn Harps: James Gallagher; Aaron Labonte, Declan Boyle (Austin Friel 73), Stuart Malcolm, Shaun Holmes; Michael Funston, Shaun McGowan, Neil McCafferty, Chris Breen; Gary Beckett (Conor Gethins 56), Stephen Parkhouse.
Subs not used: Gavin Cullen, David Tyrell, Marc Mukendi.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Seamus Coleman, Mauro Almeida, Gavin Peers, Danny Ventre; Brian Cash (Paul McTiernan 80); Conor O'Grady (David McDaid 69), Richie Ryan, Sean Doherty; Romauld Boco, Rafael Cretaro (Steve Feeney 90).
Subs not used: Pat Jennings, Gary Curran.
Referee: Hugo Whoriskey.
Attendance: 1,400 (estimate).
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