FINN Harps’ recent penchant for conceding from set pieces bit hard in a tasty north west derby at Finn Park.
Finn Harps 1 Sligo Rovers 2
By Chris McNulty at Finn Park. Pictures by Joe Boland, North West Newspix
Sligo Rovers scored twice from corner kicks as Harps fell to defeat on a lively evening in Ballybofey.
Rocked when Romeo Parkes drilled Sligo ahead in the sixth minute, Harps drew level within 50 seconds later as Tunde Owolabi bagged his first Harps goal.
Lewis Banks volleyed the winner in the 60th minute and Sligo, who saw Parkes sent off two minutes later, took the win that keeps them at the summit.
Harps, with Owolabi particularly to the fore, had the better of the first half, but couldn’t turn chances into goals and were made pay when Banks pounced.
In added time at the end of the evening, Ed McGinty came to Sligo’s rescue as he flicked over the top from a header by substitute Sean Boyd.
Harps fell behind in the sixth minute when Parks riffled in after Mark Anthony McGinley could only partially clear from a corner kick. Parkes, who netted in the 1-0 win at Shamrock Rovers on Monday that sent Sligo top, drove to the net from 20 yards.
The scoreboard was barely changed when Harps drew level.
A determined Adam Foley powered in to intercept a wayward Jordan Gibson pass. Foley’s centre was turned home by Owolabi, whose energy caused Sligo no end of angst in the opening spell.
Foley, who scored the winner in Harps’ come-from-behind win in Waterford in Monday, was restored to the stating XI, with Karl O’Sullivan also included and captain Dave Webster returned from suspension.
Harps, with manager Ollie Horgan back in the dugout after a three-game touchline ban, were emboldened by Owolabi’s leveller.
The former FC United of Manchester striker showed an early warning when he got in behind only to push the ball out of play in the second minute.
Owolabi might have put Harps in front, but his 11th minute header, from Webster’s ball into the mix, was saved by McGinty.
The Sligo goalkeeper saved again from Owolabi, who connected to a Barry McNamee cross and the lively frontman was unable to keep the follow-up on target.
Late in the half, Owolabi was in again bit, with McGinty advancing, he fired wide.
Sligo should have equalised in the 30th minute, but Mark Byrne connected with Greg Bolger’s superb free kick, prodding over the crossbar after sneaking in to connect.
Sligo regained the upper hand on the hour and it was a goal that had Horgan cutting an exasperated figure. After a game of head tennis in the area, Gibson’s attempted overhead kick fell into Banks’ path. Banks emphatically fired past McGinley. “Ah lads, can we not defend a corner?” Horgan wonder aloud into the Ballybofey air.
Two minutes later, Sligo were down to ten men when Parkes was given a straight red card after a clash with Kosovar Sadiki.
Gibson almost put a result out of Harps’ reach eight minutes from the end, but McGinley turned over to keep the game alive.
Hope remained, but Harps, ultimately, ended empty handed.
Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Ethan Boyle, Shane McEleney, Kosovar Sadiki (Tony McNamee 84), Dave Webster (Johnny Dunleavy 67); Karl O’Sullivan (Sean Boyd 78), Will Seymore (Ryan Connolly 78), Mark Coyle, Barry McNamee; Tunde Owolabi; Adam Foley (Mark Russell 84).
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks (Colm Horgan 65), John Mahon, Garry Buckley, Robbie McCourt; Greg Bolger, Niall Morahan; Mark Byrne, Jordan Gibson, Walter Figurira (Johnny Kenny 78); Romeo Parkes.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.