Drogs too good for Finn Harps in Donegal
Finn Harps 0 Drogheda United 2
Adam Wixted and Gavin Brennan shot Drogheda United to a win in Ballybofey that lifts them above Finn Harps.
Goals in either half gave the Drogs a hard-earned away win.
Drogheda took the lead on the half-hour when Wixted headed past Ciaran Gallagher from close range after being picked out by a delicious cross by Stephen Elliott.
The same players had been to the fore in the opening minute when Drogheda fired a warning shot across Harps brows but, when Elliott’s deflected shot fell invitingly, Wixted shot wide.
Harps survived a big penalty claim in those nervy opening moments as Richie Purdy went to ground under a Damien McNulty challenge.
Rob Harvey, the referee, took a long, hard look and appeared ready to point to the spot, but waved play on.
Drogheda, on the back of a 3-0 loss to Limerick that was described by manager Pete Mahon as ‘absolutely dreadful’ were clearly in the mood to impress.
Five minutes before the break, Gavin Brennan powered over with a header from Sean Thornton’s free.
With Drogs probing, it took a fine saving challenge from Ciaran Coll to prod possession away from Gareth McCaffrey, who ghosted in behind to take receipt of a long ball into the Harps penalty box.
Harps, led by Paddy McCourt, were a different side after the break.
McCourt fired wide before two moments of magic helped created chances for Sean Houston and Michael Funston, though both were off target.
Caolan McAleer also tried his luck and could have hit the target, but riffled wide as Harps turned the screw in search of an equaliser.
Eleven minutes from time, they doubled the lead. Thornton and Colm Deasy did the approach work and Brennan’s deflected effort found the bottom corner, beating the wrong-footed Gallagher.
Ethan Boyle headed wide from a glorious position as Harps sought a way back - but they had too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Bar that spell at the start of the second half, it was a poor display by the hosts in front of only 600.
Finn Harps - Gallagher; McNulty, Cantwell, Coll; Boyle, Funston (Dsane 63), Molloy, McAleer, Harkin; McCourt (McGlynn 80); Houston.
Drogheda United - McGuinness; Deasy, Gallagher, McGuigan, Kane; Wixted (Elworthy 90), Thornton, Purdy, G.Brennan; McCaffrey (McEvoy 90), Elliott (Griffin 75).
Ref - R Harvey.