Harps' dreams of capturing the Dr Tony O’Neill U-19 Championship Northern Section were put on hold as they were held scoreless draw against Fanad United at Triaghalough on Monday night.
[Donegal Democrat - photo Conor McGonagle]
It means the side managed by Sean McGowan need two points from their final two fixtures of the season - home to bottom of the table Longford Town and then away to neighbours Derry City.
Their Donegal neighbours Fanad more than matched the league leaders under the floodlights on the peninsula, even shading it on chances.
Early on, Daire McDaid struck a shot just wide of the post following a neat cut-back by Kevin Murray. The closest the visitors came to a goal in the opening exchanges was when Cathal McDaid curled a free-kick around the wall only for Shaun Black to make a comfortable save.
Five minutes before half-time Ryan Toland drew a save from Shaun Patton and as Harps failed to clear Kyle Black was then denied by the away team’s goalkeeper - the 16-year-old who saved a penalty from Waterford United’s Gary Dempsey during his first team debut on Saturday.
The best chance of the first 45 minutes came right on the stroke of half-time when Aidan Sweeney glanced a McDaid free inches over the Harps crossbar.
Pauric Patton warmed Shaun Patton’s hands at the outset of the second half, while Gary Merritt’s free was well struck but straight at Fanad goalkeeper Black.
Harps went close 20 minutes from time when central defender Hugh McFadden headed just over the Fanad crossbar after a devilish delivery from a corner by Merritt.
The home support squealed for a penalty when Patton in goal came from his line to take down Kyle Black on the left. However, referee Stephen Toner adjudged the foul had taken place outside the box - in the Harps right-back channel - and from the resultant free kick, Toland’s first strike on goal was blocked, while the second rolled inches wide.
Both sides pushed hard for a winning goal but it wasn’t to arrive. The last action of the match saw Patton save with his feet from Lee McMonagle after Daire McDaid’s free into a crowded area.
Fanad United: Shaun Black; Kevin Murray, Eoin Barrett, Lee McMonagle, Pauric O’Boyle (Anthony Brown 82) Brian McVeigh, Ryan Toland. Aidan Sweeney, Daire McDaid; Pauric Patton, Kyle Black (Liam Ryan 87)
Finn Harps: Shaun Patton; Peter Doherty, Calvin Bradley, Hugh McFadden, Stephen Rodden; Cathal McDaid (Martin Redmond 84), Ryan Shields, Ryan Lonergan (Dean McConnell 46), Gary Merritt; Jordan Duffy, Shane McGinty.
Referee: Stephen Toner.