The Finn Harps U13s came away from Longford with a well earned three points after a commanding 3-1 victory over the hosts.
A late Shaunie Bradley goal added to two first half goals from Aaron McLaughlin sealed the win for Kevin McHugh's side.
Harps made a flying start and opened the scoring after only 50 seconds. A break from Tiernan McGinty down the left allowed him space to cross for Aaron McLaughlin who had time inside the box to control and fire low past the Longford goalkeeper. Longford made their first advance up the pitch ten minutes in when a failed Harps clearance fell to Noah McNulty who curled a shot wide of the Harps goal.
Harps should have doubled their advantage shortly after when Shaun Patton raced on to Conor Kelly’s clever through ball, the forward saw his shot superbly saved by the netminder’s foot. The rebound fell to McGinty, though Longford recovered to clear his goalbound shot off the line.
Alex Sheerin playing up front for Longford spurned two quick opportunities for an equaliser, firstly when given space at the edge of the box he fired straight at keeper Shane Adair while less than a minute later he fired wide after outmuscling the Harps defender when one on one.
The visitors made the hosts pay by doubling their lead thanks to McLaughlin again. A deep cross from Martin Coyle fell into the path of McLaughlin whose first time strike went high into the Longford net. Conor Kelly could have increased the Harps lead further only for a fantastic save from the Longford goalkeeper. The hosts pulled a goal back minutes before half time when an out swinging corner wasn’t convincingly dealt with by Harps, Ribeiro Tico Jose took charge powering a strike through bodies into the bottom corner.
The second half was a far more tentative affair as it took to almost midway through the half for either side to have a chance of note. Harps captain, James McAteer, played a delicate through ball for McLaughlin who raced on though could only shoot into the keeper’s hands.
Moments later McLaughlin was again instrumental, breaking down the left hand side before firing in a low cross which was met by substitute Darragh Coyle whose effort went agonisingly wide of the post.
Harps finally made sure of the victory with two minutes remaining. Coyle raced through before a fantastic tackle by Ryan Kelly forced the ball away from goal. But, Coyle recovered to win the ball back and delivered a perfect cross to Shaunie Bradley who was unmarked 8 yards out to head past the helpless keeper.
Harps can now focus their attentions on the second North West derby of the season on Tuesday night when they travel to Oakfield Park to face Derry City.
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