Finn Harps put an end to Waterford United’s winning streak with a deserved point in a 1-1 draw in the RSC on Friday night. In a lacklustre affair, Matt Harkin gave Finn Harps the lead after 23 minutes before Peter White headed the equaliser five minutes later.
The game was poor in stages with neither side causing many problems for their opponents in a game that saw both sides end with ten men.
The opening 20-minute period was a dull affair with neither side able to keep any meaningful possession before Ciaran Coll's cross from the left found Sean McGowan, but he couldn't control the cross from the left. Kevin McHugh was next to threaten but Packie Holden made an easy save for the home side. Just three minutes later the deadlock was broken.
Finn Harps made progress down the right wing before Paul McVeith crossed for Matt Harkin to power his header past the helpless Packie Holden at the near post.
That goal brought the game to life and that lead lasted just five minutes, as the home side struck back. Gary Dempsey whipped in the corner kick from the left and the unmarked Peter White headed past Ciaran Gallagher from six-yards, his third goal in his last four games.
The second half fizzled out before the second period was brought to life by Gary Merritt’s long range effort but Holden was equal to the strike. Harps were then reduced to ten men with just over twenty-minutes remaining.
Aaron O’Hagan, booked early in the second period for a challenge in the centre of their half, was adjudged to have fouled Peter Keegan on the edge of the penalty area and was given a second yellow and subsequent red card by referee Jim McKell, much to the annoyance of Harps’ boss Peter Hutton.
Gary Dempsey was next to threaten but his long range effort was easily saved by Ciaran Gallagher, who collected on the second attempt. The home side continued to push for the winner and Paul Phelan had a good chance blocked by a wall of Finn Harps defenders with just two minutes to play.
Referee Jim McKell levelled up the teams with a second red card of the night. McKell had booked Craig Burns for an off the ball incident in the build up to the Waterford goal, and he showed the centre-back a second yellow card for a late challenge on Harps keeper Ciaran Gallagher.
Finn Harps held on and defended superbly with all that Waterford United threw at them in the second period and deservedly took a share of the spoils. For the home side, it was a case of dropped points with Limerick and Longford Town both winning.
Waterford United: Packie Holden; Stephen Mulcahy, Craig Burns, Seamus Long, John Frost; Paul Carey (Aidan McGrath 87’), Peter Higgins (Jack Doherty 62’), Peter White, Paul Phelan; Gary Dempsey, Peter Keegan (Willie John Kiely 79’).
Subs not used: Robbie Hughes, David Breen, Dylan Mernagh, Conor Coad.
Booked: Holden (25), Burns (27), White (90+3).
Sent Off: Burns (89).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; James Doherty, Keith Cowan, Tommy McMonagle, Ciaran Coll; Matt Harkin, Shaun McGowan, Aaron O’Hagan, Gary Merritt (Adam Clarke 67); Paul McVeigh, Kevin McHugh.
Subs not used: Shaun Patton, Cathal McDaid, Jordan Duffy
Booked: O’Hagan (56), McHugh (69).
Sent Off: O’Hagan (68).
Referee: Jim McKell (Tipperary).