Houston the hero again as Harps earn draw with St. Pat's

Wonderful injury time equaliser denies visitors the win

Houston the hero again as Harps earn draw with St. Pat's

Sean Houston . . . who got equaliser

Sean Houston struck a wonderful injury time equaliser as Harps came from behind to draw with St. Patrick’s Athletic on Tuesday night.

Finn Harps 1

St. Patrick’s Athletic 1

The midfielder, whose two goals gave Harps the win against Bray on Friday night, cracked home a spectacular goal on 91 minutes  to deny St. Pat’s the points.

The Dubliners had looked on their way to victory after Buncrana’s Mark Timlin had given them the lead on 63.

But Harps refused to throw in the towel and after some late pressure, eventually conjured up an equaliser with Houston slamming the ball home in a crowded area.

It was no less than Harps deserved. They’d responded to falling behind by taking the game to their opponents and pinning them back in the closing stages.

Damian McNulty saw a header saved by Brendan Clarke and Ryan Curran also went close. But St. Pat’s eventually caved in when Houston found the net following a corner kick.

With BJ Banda starting up front in the only change from the win over Bray Wanderers, Harps looked lively early on.

They’d gone into this match on the back of two good results and Harps looked like a side playing with renewed confidence. Once again, Michael Funston and Houston were both very prominent in the early exchanges and Gareth Harkin and Ryan Curran also saw a lot of possession.

But it was St. Pat’s who had the game’s best chance of the first half.  Timlin worked a brilliant opening with Jamie McGrath but with only keeper Ciaran Gallagher to beat, Timlin screwed his shot wastefully wide of the target.

Almost immediately at the other end, Curran went on a super run only to see his goalbound effort blocked by a defender. It was a scenario that would repeat itself a number of times in the first half - Harps getting into good positions to shoot, only to see their efforts blocked.

The Dublin side were in again shortly before half time but Christy Fagan drilled his shot over from a good position.

St. Pat’s saw plenty of the ball, but Harps defended well with Ciaran Coll, in his 200th Harps’ appearance, worthy of special praise for a quality first half display.

But St. Pat’s were the better team after the break and just after Keith Cowan was stretchered off with what appeared a nasty leg injury, St. Pat’s went in front - Timlin sweeping the ball home on 63 minutes.

Cowan had needed lengthy treatment and at the end of the match, ten minutes of injury time were played. And it was during that time added on that Houston popped up with yet another important goal for his team.

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan (Packie Mailey 60), Damian McNulty, Gareth Harkin, Michael Funston, Barry Molloy (Dave Scully 75), BJ Banda (Tony McNamee 60), Sean Houston, Ryan Curran.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien, Ian Bermingham, Darren Dennehy, Michael Barker, Lee Desmond, Conan Byrne, Jamie McGrath (Darragh Markey 86), Christy Fagan  (Dinny Corcoran 70), Graham Kelly, Mark Timlin (Billy Dennehy 83).

Referee: Ray Matthews.

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