Finn Harps salvaged some pride after their recent poor league form culminated in the resignation of manager Dave Rogers as they overcame a stubborn Kerry FC side at Ballybofey.
Finn Harps…2 Kerry FC…1
But Harps, under interim manager Darren Murphy, were forced to work all the ay for their full quota of points.
Not only did they have to come from behind, but Harps can thank goalkeeper Antonio Tuta saved a penalty from Kerry’s Leonardo Gaxha in the 74th minute.
By Charlie Collins at Finn Park
These two teams had already played on three occasions this season, two of those had been drawn while Harps had won the third 1-2 down in Kerry, BJ Banda scoring a late winner.
With only one more home game to come after this and with only two home wins recorded so far this season Harps were keen to get back to winning ways.
Former Harps man Daniel Okwute had a half chance in the ninth minute , cutting inside from the right but blazing his shot well over the bar.
Apart from a B J Banda shot which flew over the bar and a couple of moments involving Ryan Flood , who played wide on the left , Harps created very little.
Sean McGrath had some good moments for Kerry FC but like Harps they showed little going forward and it was no surprise when we reached half-time with the game still scoreless , with Ryan Kelliher shooting over in the last minute of the half.
That all changed in the first minute of the second-half as the visitors took the lead. Okwute did well on the right side and drilled a low cross into the six yard box which Kelliher hammered into the net .
The lead didn’t last long however and Harps were level two minutes later, BJ Banda heading home Tony McNamee’s pip point free-kick, 1-1.
These goals lifted the game and both teams seemed to get a new lease of life. On the hour Harps took the lead, Ryan Flood drilled in a corner and half-time substitute Noe Baba powerfully headed home.
Kerry responded and Kennedy Amechi raced into the box but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Matt Makinson.
The visitors could have been level again in the 73rd minute when they were awarded a penalty for a handball call against Seamas Keogh which looked a bit harsh but Harps keeper Antonio Tuta made a super save to deny Leonardo Gaxha’s spot kick.
Patrick Ferry’s header from Tony Namee’s long throw-in was just wide in the 80th minute.
Tony McNamee had a shot well saved in the 90th minute and that proved to be the final chance of the game as Harps defended a couple of Kerry attacks and in the 94th minute keeper Tuta saved well to deny Okwute and Harps held on to record only their third home victory of the season.
Finn Harps ; Antonio Tuta , Seamas Keogh , Stephen Doherty , Mattie Makinson , Ryan Flood ( Aaron McLaughlin 77mins), Jamie Watson , Ryan Rainey , Tony McNamee , Patrick Ferry , B J Banda ( Caoimhin Porter 89mins), Kevin Jordan ( Noe Baba h/t).
Kerry FC: Lee Axworthy Duggan, Kevin Williams, Samual Aladesanusi, Ronan Teehan ( Kennedy Amechi (43mins), Seán O’Connell, Seán McGrath ( Cian Brosnan 88mins), Leonardo Gaxha, Ethan Kos, Okwuy Okwute, Ryan Kelliher , Martin Coughlan ( Cian Barrett (58mins). Referee ; Gavin Colfer.