McMillan Brace Seals North West Win
Dundalk were 2-0 winners at Finn Park on Friday night as they put in a professional display to defeat Finn Harps.
Goals in either half from man of the moment David McMillan ensured that the Lilywhites left Ballybofey with all three points.
Dundalk had a chance in the opening 90 seconds when Michael Duffy found space on the left after a ball from the right from McGrath found him in space but his effort after cutting in was easily gathered by Ciaran Gallagher.
It was a scrappy opening and Conor Clifford found a small gap to get a shot away however it was charged down as it headed goalwards while Chris Shields found the same gap from the same distance after Thomas Stewart headed down a Dane Massey cross however the result was the same with his shot being blocked.
At the other end Sean Houston showed quick feet to find himself in behind however his cross was towards the waiting Caolan McAleer and was cut out brilliantly by Seán Hoare.
In the 25th minute it should have been 1-0 to the champions as Massey’s cross was headed goalwards by McMillan but his effort came back off the post with Ciaran Coll brilliantly clearing off the line from the on rushing Brian Gartland.
The breakthrough did come though just after the half hour mark when Duffy on the left drifted in field and laid it off to Niclas Vemmelund. He took a touch before placing an inch perfect left footed cross to the back post where McMillan prodded the ball home past Gallagher.
That killed the game as such between then and the break with the Lilywhites controlling possession and led deservedly 1-0 at the break.
Dundalk started the second period on the front foot and they were unlucky not to make it 2-0 immediately after the re-start when Massey’s free-kick on the right found the head of McMillan however it came crashing off the crossbar yet again.
The striker would make no mistake though in the minutes after when he got into the perfect position to finish Clifford’s cross from the edge of the area past the sprawling Gallagher to make it 2-0.
That put the champions in full control and they created several chances to extend the advantage soon after.
Stewart was putting in another superb performance following on from last week and he received the ball from Duffy on the left but his snap shot bounced just wide of the target.
Stewart again had a chance with half an hour remaining when he latched on to Jamie McGrath’s revers through ball but Gallagher came out well to block the effort with the Portadown man through on goal.
Dundalk were in full flow now with Massey and Duffy linking up brilliantly on the left and they combined when Massey’s clever ball found the Derry man however his first time effort was inches wide of the right hand post.
Massey then had a free-kick blocked down by the wall from 20 yards before he dummied from the same situation however Stewart’s right footed effort was over the wall and whistled just over the crossbar.
Stewart appeared to be everywhere and his knockdown found Duffy, who wasn’t ready for it however, and he blazed over from 10 yards with his left foot.
Coll had a late chance to pull one back for Harps however his effort from 25 yards was straight at Gary Rogers who dealt comfortably with everything over the 90 minutes.
That proved to be the final action of note as the champions closed out the game to maintain their place in the table.
FINN HARPS: Ciaran Gallagher; Damian McNulty, Ciaran Coll (capt), Gareth Harkin, Killian Cantwell; Sean Houston, Johnny Bonner (BJ Banda 82), Barry Molloy (Mickey Funston 76), Ethan Boyle, Paddy McCourt (Eddie Dsane 68); Caolan McAleer.
Substitutes not used: Packie Mailey, Tommy McMonagle, Simon McGlynn, Harry Doherty (GK)
Booked: Harkin (24), McAleer (68)
Sent off: None.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Niclas Vemmelund, Brian Gartland (capt), Seán Hoare, Dane Massey; Conor Clifford, Chris Shields (Stephen O’Donnell 84); Jamie McGrath, Thomas Stewart (John Mountney 86), Michael Duffy; David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 87).
Substitutes not used: Patrick McEleney, Steven Kinsella, Emmet Hughes, Gabriel Sava (GK)
Booked: Hoare (25), Vemmelund (70)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Paul Tuite.