There was late drama at a sun-kissed Finn Park on Saturday as two goals from Captain Darragh Ellison gave the Donegal men a NW derby victory when it seemed the Candystripes had done enough to bring the points back to Derry.
The first half was a hard fought affair as both teams struggled to find their rhythm in the warm conditions with the lively Friel for Derry giving the Harps backline food for thought but with few chances for either side.
Midway through the first half some hesitation in the Harps defence opened the door for the visitors and Cian McGarvey didn’t need to be asked twice and he finished to give Derry the advantage at the break.
Harps, who had lost Conor Black to injury early in the game approached the second half with a real sense of purpose but a well organised Derry rearguard were quick to snuff out dangerous situations in the final third.
Aduaka put in a huge shift up front but Harps main threat came from set-pieces and while they forced a succession of corners and free kicks around the box but the visiting defence was standing firm.
In a bid to break the impasse full backs Ellison and Doherty were increasingly pushing forward as the home side threw caution to the wind and they finally got their reward with minutes remaining.
The attacking Ellison was upended in the box to win a penalty and then stepped up to coolly slot home the equaliser.
As the game entered injury time Harps went in search of the winner and following a scramble in the box Ellison provided the final touch to provide the winner and spark spirited celebrations amongst the Harps players.
A welcome three points for Declan Boyles side who had drawn their previous three games and will now look to continue their unbeaten run next week when they travel to Dundalk.
Harps: Adrian McLaughlin, Jack Doherty, Darragh Ellison, Lee McLaughlin, Stephen Black, Conor Reilly, Corey McBride, Ronan Gallagher, Conor Black, Adam McCaffery, Gabriel Aduaka Subs: Eoin McGing , Jamie Doherty, Brendan Barr, Luke Rudden, Keelan Collier, Dylan Woods, Charlie White
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