Houston puts Harps on brink of safety
Finn Harps 2 Bray Wanderers 1
Sean Houston's brace against his former club, Bray Wanderers, helped Finn Harps take a huge step towards Premier Division survival last night.
Houston scored a goal in each half as Harps jumped eight points above Wexford Youths with their first win in 11 games.
Harps had been on a wretched run, but Ollie Horgan's men are now almost safe in the top flight.
Harps took the lead in the 12th minute when Houston finished from close range, connecting with a teasing delivery by Adam Hanlon.
The goal energised Harps and it took a save at full stretch by Peter Cherrie to prevent the Donegal side from doubling the lead as he thwarted Ryan Curran, whose clever turn created the chance.
However, Harps survived a real scare when the returning Ciaran Gallagher tipped Hugh Douglas' header onto the crossbar.
Houston and Curran had early chances for Harps and, late in the half Cherrie did well to beat away an effort from Barry Molloy.
Harps sealed the win in the 67th minute with a tidy close-range finish from Houston, but they had to hang on after Dean Kelly pulled one back for Bray.
Curran had gone close to putting Harps two up early in the second half, but he clipped onto the bar after Keith Cowan's cross fell invitingly just inside the box.
The Seagulls had arrived in Ballybofey after winning their last five games, but Harps bagged their first win since July.
In a seismic night in the battle to avoid in the drop, Houston ensured that Harps move eight points clear of Wexford, who were beaten 4-1 by St Patrick's Athletic.
Finn Harps - C Gallagher; E Boyle, D McNulty, K Cowan, C Coll; M Funston (J Mailey 69), B Molloy, G Harkin, A Hanlon (T McNamee 84); S Houston; R Curran (BJ Banda 90).
Bray Wanderers - P Cherrie; H Douglas, C Kenna, T Clancy, K Lynch; J Sullivan; D Noone (C Lyons 84), M Salmon (R Brennan 59), K Moore, D Connolly; G Pender (D Kelly 59).
Ref - P McLaughlin