David McMillan celebrates with his teammates having scored the decisive goal in Dundalk's win over Finn Harps. Pic: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile
Dundalk 1-0 Finn Harps
Dundalk FC climbed up to sixth in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on Saturday evening after beating Finn Harps 1-0 in the scorching heat of Oriel Park.
David McMillan’s 33rd-minute goal was all that could separate the sides, with Finn Harps now looking over their shoulders at ninth-place Waterford in the league table.
Unchanged for a third game running, Dundalk looked lively in the early exchanges and almost went ahead on four minutes when Will Patching turned over from close range.
In spite of the sweltering Oriel heat, The Lilywhites dominated and again went close through McMillan, who steered his header off the post from Michael Duffy’s corner.
Sonni Nattestad has looked assured at the back in recent weeks for Dundalk and the Faroe Islands international diverted wide from Patrick McEleney’s peach of a cross.
Patching had a free-kick deflected over and from the resulting corner, Duffy delivered a cross into the path of McEleney, who saw his glancing header go inches wide of the post.
Dundalk were beginning to turn the screw at this stage and Raivis Jurkovskis got on the end of a Darragh Leahy cross, but the Latvian international saw his header go just wide.
The menacing Jurkovskis was involved in Dundalk’s opener on 33 minutes when – after combing with McEleney – his shot was saved by Finn Harps goalkeeper Mark McGinley, only for McMillan to easily finish from the rebound to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Harps had their first chance five minutes before the break through Kosovar Sadiki, who headed straight at Alessio Abibi after getting on the end of Karl O’Sullivan’s set-piece.
The heat was taking its toll as the second half started, with both teams struggling to fashion anything in the way of chances, although Harps forward Adam Foley – who scored twice last time these sides met at Oriel – sliced an attempt straight at Abibi.
At the other end, McMillan almost doubled his and Dundalk’s advantage when he had an attempt saved by McGinley after being played in by the incisive pass of McEleney.
Harps pressed without creating anything else of note, as Dundalk held out for a crucial win ahead of their next venture into Europe against Levadia Tallinn on Thursday night.
Dundalk FC: Alessio Abibi; Raivis Jurkovskis, Andy Boyle, Sonni Nattestad, Darragh Leahy; Sam Stanton; Daniel Kelly (Val Adedokun 90+4), Patrick McEleney, Will Patching (Wilfried Zahibo 87), Michael Duffy; David McMillan (Ole Erik Midtskogen 79)
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie (gk), Greg Sloggett, Sean Murray, Ryan O’Kane, Mark Hanratty, Han Jeong-Woo
Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Ethan Boyle, David Webster, Kosovar Sadiki, Jordan Mustoe; Mark Coyle (Sean Boyd 80), Will Seymore; Karl O’Sullivan (Ryan Connolly 88), Barry McNamee (Ryan Rainey 88), Dan Hawkins; Adam Foley (Tunde Owolabi 68)
Subs not used: Ger Doherty (gk), John Dunleavy, Shane McEleney, Conor Barry, Stephen Doherty
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