Finn Harps will be left rueing first half misses as they fell to a 3-0 loss to Dundalk at Oriel Park.
Mihaljević had a shot cleared off the line and another hit the bar while Ryan Connolly forced ‘keeper Nathan Sheppard into two smart saves, and Barry McNamee had a good header go wide.
A mistake at the back gave Dundalk the lead through Steven Bradley just before half time and a quick start to the second half seen Dundalk take a vital 2-0 lead a minute into the half through Sam Bone.
Bradley scored a quality goal to make it 3-0 as Dundalk win their first league game of the season
Conor Tourish made his first competitive start for Ollie Horgan’s side.
Dundalk had started the season with two draws, both games ending in 2-2 score lines as they hosted Derry City before travelling to Bohemians on Friday.
They made 4 changes from that draw on Friday, including a return for captain Brian Gartland, who hadn’t featured for Dundalk since April 2021.
The Donegal side started sharp and pressed the hosts into mistakes, the first after 4 minutes when Mihaljević almost went through on goal but the returning Gartland was sharp to make a slide tackle.
The Croatian striker had the first and best chance of the half after 12 minutes when Lewis Macari slipped and Ethan Boyle capitalised as Harps went 2 on 1. Boyle played Mihaljević through and he rounded goalkeeper Sheppard but Macari made up for his error by sliding in to clear the ball off the line.
Five minutes later Mihaljević beat the offside trap and his cross was met by McNamee but the Ramelton man’s header back across goal went just wide.
Moments later a long throw from Boyle found Webster at the back post who played it to Connolly on the edge of the box.
The Mayo man took a touch and his left footed volley was goal bound but Sheppard was down quick to make a smart save.
Connolly again had the next Harps chance when his inswinging corner almost went straight in but Sheppard reacted quick to stop it going over the line.
Again the Harps press saw Dundalk give the ball straight to Mihaljević who nutmegged Andy Boyle and smashed the ball towards goal but it hit the crossbar and went over.
Dundalk’s first chance came just before half time and it was a confidence breaker for Finn Harps.
A long ball from Sheppard was kept in by Steven Bradley but Mark Timlin retained possession.
The Buncrana man then tried a flick instead of clearing his lines and Bradley intercepted the ball and cut inside from the right and curled a left footed strike low into the far corner past McGinley.
Harps would’ve been cursing their luck at half-time and it only got worse in the second half.
Bradley found Sam Bone out on the right wing and the defender cut in similarly to Bradley’s goal and smashed the ball low and hard just inside the near post and past McGinley.
Harps chances were limited and Élie N’Zeyi’s shot outside the box went just over the bar as Dundalk grew into the game.
Pat Hoban, who came on at half-time, almost got on the scoresheet as a Benson corner fell to him at the back post. His header was on target but McGinley kept it out.
Substitute Eric McWoods looked to have been fouled on the edge of the box but referee John McLaughlin wasn’t having any of it and moments later, it was 3-0.
The ball came to Hoban who tried to cross but it was blocked and fell to Bradley on the edge of the box.
The Scotsman took a touch and coolly poked the ball into the far corner.
The game died down after the third as both teams had very few chances and Dundalk came out 3-0 winners.
Finn Harps host Bohemians on Friday night in their first home game of the season at Finn Park.
Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Ethan Boyle, Conor Tourish, José Carrillo, David Webster; Ryan Connolly, Élie-Gaël N’Zeyi, Mark Timlin, Barry McNamee, Ryan Rainey; Filip Mihaljević.
Subs: Jesse Devers, Yoyo Mahdy & Eric McWoods for Timlin, McNamee and Mihaljević (60 mins), Bastien Héry for Connolly (71 mins), Rudden for Rainey (84 mins)
Dundalk: Nathan Sheppard; Lewis Macari, Brian Gartland (C), Andy Boyle, Sam Bone, Robbie Benson, Steven Bradley, Dan Williams, Joe Adams, Paul Doyle, David McMillan.
Subs: Daniel Kelly for Macari (25 mins), Greg Sloggett for Doyle (half-time), Pat Hoban for McMillan (half-time) Keith Ward for Adams (62 mins), John Martin for Bradley (77 mins).