Harry Ascroft on target again as Harps deliver blow to Bohs' European hopes
Finn Harps 1 Bohemians 0
HARRY ASCROFT was the Finn Harps hero for the second time in seven days as the Donegal men moved six points clear of UCD in the race for survival.
After just eight minutes, Ascroft let fly with a stunning effort from 25 yards that gave Bohs 'keeper James Talbot no chance of a save. It proved the only goal of the game as Harps continued their superb recent form to take another step towards safety.
The early passages of Ascroft's Harps story were plagued by a series injury set-backs, but the Australian has made the most of his run of games lately.
Last week, Ascroft struck gold with a derby winner against Derry City - and he repeated the trick here with a wonderful winner.
Jacob Borg and Mark Timlin were involved before Mikey Place laid back for Ascroft to send a cracker to the top corner.
Danny Mandroiu, who had an earlier penalty claim waved away by referee Damien McGraith, saw a free klick fly over the Harps crossbar ten minutes before the break.
As Bohs sought a way back, Andre Wright poked tamely wide early in the second half after Luke Wade-Slater's ambitious effort was blocked into his path.
Mandroiu had another sight of goal on the hour, but he drilled over on the turn.
The hosts showed just one change to his roster with Tony McNamee in for the suspended Raffaele Cretaro.
The suspension of the veteran Cretaro - booked in error during a game against Derry at the Brandywell - drew the ire of the Harps boss earlier this week.
Ascroft tried his luck again, but couldn't call Talbot into action again, while the visiting net minder was able to comfortably deal with a Timlin daisy-cutter.
New signing Ruairi Harkin - back for a second spell at Harps ten years after his last - almost made an instant impact after he was called from the bench 11 minutes from the end. Harkin teed up McNamee on the edge of the area, but his effort screwed off-target.
After 1-0 wins over Waterford United and Derry City on the last two outings, Ascroft's goal here means that Harps have won three Premier Division games in a row for only the third time in 20 years - and only the sixth time since two Divisions came into being in the League of Ireland.
Finn Harps - McGinley; O'Reilly, Cowan, Todd; Borg, McNamee (Doherty 93), G Harkin, Ascroft, Russell; Timlin (R Harkin 79); Place (Boyle 82).
Bohemains - Talbot; Barker, Finnerty, Barry, Leahy; Wade-Slater, Allardice (McCourt 59), Levingston, Ward (Grant h-t); Mandroiu (Tierney 75); Wright.
Ref - D. McGraith.