Finn Harps
Sligo Rovers

Saturday, 25 March, 2017
2 - 1
SSE Airtricity League
Killian Cantwell 68
Ciaran O'Connor 90
Raff Cretaro 59


Ciaran O'Connor's 94th minute winner saw Finn Harps beat Sligo Rovers 2-1 at Finn Park. Raffaele Cretaro had given the Bit O'Red the lead on 59 minutes before Kilian Cantwell struck for his first goal for Harps nine minutes later. 

O'Connor saw his penalty pushed away by Rovers goalkeeper Micheál Schlingermann but the Dundalk loanee was alert to pounce on the rebound to win the game for Harps. 

Sligo were first to threaten. Jonah Ayunga capitalised on Cantwell's cross-field ball but was foiled by a strong challenge from Harps skipper Ciaran Coll who did well to get across and divert Ayunga's close range drive at goal just past the quarter hour.

Rovers have profited in recent weeks from the outstanding performances of winger Kieran Sadlier. The former Peterborough man was close to gaining an assist from a throw-in as he found Chris Kenny close to the dead-ball line. Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher was sharp to fall at Kenny's feet to halt the Wexford man's charge. 

The Finn Park outfit were almost the masters of their own downfall again on 24. Ayunga supplied Cretaro down the Rovers right. Cretaro's quick turn inside saw him cut past his marker before teeing up Sadlier who mis-queued from a profitable position. 

The Donegal side had to wait until the half hour before their first real opportunity arrived. The ball fell firstly to Coll who saw his shot blocked by a sea of Sligo players. The rebound then landed to Cantwell but again Harps were thwarted by an abundance of bodies in front of Schlingermann's goal. 

The home side could have taken the lead early in the second half. O'Connor neatly slipped past the challenge of Mick Leahy before forcing Schlingermann into a strong save. The rebound falling to Sean Houston whose attempt from a goal scoring position was easily gathered by the Rovers net minder. 

Dave Robertson's charges hit the lead on 59. John Russell picking out a hole in the Harps defence to thread Cretaro through. The Sligo veteran finishing with aplomb for his first goal of the year.   

Rovers' lead lasted just the nine minutes. 

Boyle did well to fire Bonner's free-kick back into the danger zone. ball eventually fell to Cantwell who lashed home from eight yards for his maiden strike for the Ballybofey men since his move from Galway in the winter. 

The game was decided four minutes into injury time. Schlingermann was equal to O'Connor's penalty but the latter was quickest to react to fire home for the winner. 

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damian McNulty (Eddie Dsane 66), Ciaran Coll, Kilian Cantwell, Gareth Harkin; Caolan McAleer, Ethan Boyle, Jonny Bonner, Sean Houston, Danny Morrisey (Michael Funston 90+5); Ciaran O'Connor.  

Sligo Rovers: Micheál Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Mick Leahy, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Liam Martin; John Russell, Chris Kenny, Craig Roddan, Kieran Sadlier; Jonah Ayunga (Mathew Stevens 71), Raffaele Cretaro (Mikey Place 86). 

Referee: Arnold Hunter. 


Post match-interview:

Harps 2 Rovers 1 - Robbo's Verdict

Dave Robertson and Sligo Rovers were left devastated by a cruel twist of fate that saw a final second defeat at Finn Harps 2-1. Rovers had taken the lead through a lovely first goal of the season for Raff Cretaro however Harps fought back late to steal the points.