Stuart Connolly reports from Finn Park.
A goal in each half at Finn Park helped St. Patrick’s Athletic to the top of the League.
Billy King netted on the half hour while his strike partner Matty Smith found the net on the hour mark as Stephen O’Donnell’s side made it five wins in their first seven outings.
Ollie Horgan’s side remain fourth with 11 points on the board from their first seven matches but are now without a win or goal in their last three.
The hosts looked to continue their 100% home record as Johnny Dunleavy was handed his debut fresh from signing in the days before the encounter.
The opening proceedings were quiet as neither keeper was troubled with the best chance coming from Sam Bone who headed wide from a left sided corner.
The home side struggled to gain much momentum in the final third as Karl O’Sullivan squandered their best opportunity, firing high from the edge of the area.
Approaching the half hour mark, John Mountney came within a whisker of opening the scoring but his low hit shot drifted narrowly wide after a cross from Ian Bermingham.
Five minutes later the deadlock was broken. After a neat flick on from Ronan Coughlan, it was picked up by Billy King who weaved his way into open space before faking on the edge of the area and ultimately thundering a shot past McGinley.
The goal boosted the spirits of the Saints who have enjoyed a fantastic start to the new campaign. They enjoyed the majority of possession late in the half as Harps couldn’t breach the away defence.
Following the restart, Vitezslav Jaros was called upon, although it was meat and drink for the shot stopper as David Webster fired straight at the man on loan from Liverpool.
At the opposite end of the pitch a few moments later, Pat’s claimed for a penalty for handball amongst a scramble but nothing was given as an offside decision in the following move allowed Harps to breathe a sigh of relief.
The home goal was again under threat on the hour mark and the questions asked of Harps went unanswered as Pat’s doubled their advantage.
King turned provider after a precision pass from Chris Forrester and the scorer of the first goal found Ronan Coughlan who edged towards the byline. He lofted a ball in from the right and Matty Smith rose well to head home, beyond the gloves of McGinley.
With a two goal cushion, the visitors looked to shut up shop which limited Harps to shots from distance or crosses into the area.
The away rearguard stood firm and held out for a clean sheet with Harps now failing to score in their last three games while Stephen O’Donnell’s side sit at the top of the pile heading into the weekend.
Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Kosovar Sadiki(Tony McNamee 74), David Webster, Stephan Folan, Mark Russell(Stephen Doherty 57); Johnny Dunleavy(Ryan Rainey 67), Mark Coyle, Barry McNamee, Will Seymore; Ryan Shanley(Adam Foley 57), Karl O’Sullivan(Sean Boyd 57).
Subs not used: Luke McNicholas, Mark Timlin, Niall McGinley, Tunde Owolabi.
St Patrick's Athletic: Vitezslav Jaros; Lee Desmond, Sam Bone, Paddy Barrett; Chris Forrester, Ian Bermingham(Shane Griffin 84), Jamie Lennon, John Mountney; Ronan Coughlan(Alfie Lewis 69), Billy King(Ben McCormack 84), Matty Smith.
Subs not used: Josh Keeley, Kian Corbally, Darragh Burns, Nahum Melvin-Lambert, Daniel Norris.
Referee: Robert Harvey.
ExtraTime.com Man of the Match: Billy King (St. Patrick’s Athletic)