JOE Thomson’s late equaliser denied Finn Harps another north west derby win over Derry City.
Derry City 2 Finn Harps 2
By Charlie Collins at The Brandywell. Pictures by Joe Boland, North West Newspix
Goals by Jordan Mustoe and Ryan Rainey looked to have set Ollie Horgan’s men on their way to three points, but Thomson denied them at the death.
City had slightly the better of the early stages and after Evan McLaughlin had shot over from 20 yards in the ninth minute, they almost took the lead two minutes later. James Akitunde did well down the left side before sliding a pass through for Danny Lafferty and his angled drive was brilliantly turned away by Mark Anthony McGinley.
Harps were struggling to put meaningful attacks together but a good passing movement worked the ball wide to Jordan Mustoe and his cross saw the City ‘keeper come to claim the ball but only flap at it and relieved that it drifted wide.
Two minutes later City took the lead in controversial circumstances. Harps striker Tunde Owolabi appeared to be fouled from behind near the touchline, but referee Neil Doyle waved play-on and seconds later Thomson’s cross was headed home by Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
The incident happened close to the Harps bench which was less than impressed by the ref’s lack of action.
Shortly after the goal Lafferty flashed another cross-cum-shot across McGinley’s six yard line which only needed a touch but was just ahead of the nearest attacker.
Harps began to enjoy more possession after this and without creating any clear-cut chances did cause some problems for the City defence.
They were rewarded in the 38th minute when a good build-up saw the ball worked to a well advanced Jordan Mustoe just outside the City box.
The full-back, who opened his account for Harps last week against Shamrock Rovers. shaped up for what looked like a cross but completely deceived keeper Nathan Gartside and hit the inside of his side netting with plenty of pace on it.
Just before the end of the second minute of injury-time City almost grabbed the lead again. Ramelton lad Ronan Boyce, who has made a habit of scoring important goals for City, got a strong header on target from a corner but Will Seymore headed clear from under the crossbar and the teams went in level at the break.
Both teams had early second-half chances. Evan McLaughlin drove a shot just wide of the Harps goal frame in the 54th minute and a minute later Tunde Owolabi hit the City side netting after holding off the attention of Eoin Toal.
Just after the hour Harps grabbed the lead with a super goal. Karl O’Sullivan, Ethan Boyle and Barry McNamee were all involved in freeing up Will Seymore on the right and his excellent cross was drilled home by Ryan Rainey – a brilliant team goal.
City’s response was impressive as they pushed forward in numbers forcing Harps to defend deep. In the 68th minute keeper McGinley produced another super save to deny sub James McGonigle’s blockbuster from 14 yards.
With the pressure mounting and a goal needed City made more changes with Bastian Hery and Will Fitzgerald both introduced in the 70th minute.
McGonigle got through again twice within a few minutes but McGinley made two super saves to deny him and keep Harps ahead.
However the pressure paid off and after a series of balls into the Harps box fro crosses and corners the ball finally landed at the feet of Joe Thompson who hammered it home in the 90th minute. An ugly brawl followed the goal involving nearly every player involved and resulted in goalscorer Thompson and Harps keeper McGinley been red carded.
Johnny Dunleavy had to goals for Harps and they held out to earn a draw in what was another cracking North-West derby.
Derry City: Nathan Gartside, Ronan Boyce, Ciaran Coll (Will Fitzgerald 70), Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannet, Danny Lafferty, Ciaron Harkin (Bastian Hery 70), Joe Thomson, Evan McLaughlin ( James McGonigle), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, James Akintunde (Jack Malone 88).
Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley, Ethan Boyle, Jordan Mustoe (Sean Boyd 74), Kosovar Sadiki, Shane McEleney, Mark Coyle (Johnny Dunleavy 86), Adam Foley (Karl O’Sullivan h-t), Will Seymore , Tunde Owolabi, Ryan Connelly (78), Barry McNamee, Ryan Rainey.
Referee: Neil Doyle.