Toal steals a point for Derry to break Harps' hearts

Skipper's late, late equaliser rescues a barely deserved draw for hosts but they slip further back from Shams 
Toal steals a point for Derry to break Harps' hearts

Local dust-up: Derry's Matty Smith is tackled by Bastien Hery of Finn Harps. Pic: INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

DERRY CITY 2 FINN HARPS 2 

DERRY City's fall from grace continued at the Brandywell, skipper Eoin Toal netting a 93rd minute equaliser to break Finn Harps hearts.

The Donegal side had taken the lead on two occasions before that late, late show and they deservedly will feel hard done-by when failing to hold out for what could have been a valuable three points.

Toal sent the big crowd home happy when his looping header dropped into the net following Will Patching's corner.

Harps opted to press Derry onto the back foot from the outset and they gained an early reward for those positive tactics after just eight minutes.

Ryan Rainey produced a cushioned pass into the path of Filip Mihaljevic and the striker gleefully flashed his shot across the face of goal and into the far corner of Brian Maher's net to break the deadlock.

Harps remained on the offensive when going close to doubling their advantage in the 14th minute.

Mihaljevic was impeded on the edge of the penalty area and Regan Donelon smashed the free-kick off the Derry crossbar.

Much to the delight of their supporters, Derry equalised in the 22nd minute with a superb goal.

Having won a free-kick on the left, Patching brought the Brandywell to life with a sublime strike when he curled the ball into the Harps net from 35 yards, the ball sailing home over the head of a startled keeper, Mark McGinley Happy to adopt defensive tactics after the break and hit on the counter-attack, Harps were rewarded for a second time.

On this occasion Eric McWoods broke clear and having successfully turned inside Toal, the striker bundled the ball over the line from close range.

In fact, the visitors could have increased their lead three minutes later but Conor Tourish failed to get his head to an inviting cross from close range.

Derry went so close to securing a point in the 85th minute when Ronan Boyce was denied thanks to a superb save by McGinty while Patching let fly with another screamer minutes later which failed to hit the target.

Substitute Danny Lafferty failed to get a low shot on target in the 88th minute as Harps clung on to what could prove a significant win. Derry pressure finally paid off in the 93rd minute when Toal played a captain's role when heading home a Patching corner, much to the delight of the large support.

DERRY CITY: Maher; Boyce, Toal, McEleney, McJannet; Thomson (Akintunde, 61), Smith; Malone (Lafferty, 70), Patching, Kavanagh (McLaughlin, 61); McGonigle.

FINN HARPS: 

McGinley; Carrillo, Tourish, Slevin, Donelon (Alkan, 75); Boyle, Connolly, Hery (Devers, 94, Rainey; McWoods (Rudden, 77); Mihaljevic.

Referee: A. Reale

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