Finn Harps came out on top in the big North-West Derby on Friday night when they produced a marvellous performance go beat Derry City 2-0.
Forgotten man BJ Banda came off the bench early on to replace Jonny Bonner and he put the visitors in front just before half-time. And it was another substitute, Michael Funston, who guaranteed the points would heading to Ballybofey when he scored the second with nine minutes remaining. He had replaced Paddy McCourt just before the hour mark.
We spoke to goalscorer Funston after the game and he said, “I thought it was a very nervous start from us. Derry settled into the game much quicker as you would expect from the home side.”
“What turned out to be Johnny Bonner’s bad luck turned into BJ’s good fortune to be brought into the game so early.”
“That good fortune continued when his deflected shot beat Gerard Doherty just before half-time which changed the dynamics of the game.”
“In the 2nd half Derry came out and tried to up the tempo by moving the ball wide early and trying to stretch us. In going for the game this left it very open and meant we had the chances to hit them on the counter attack. That’s were my goal came from. More good work from BJ down the left, and as the ball came across the 6 yard box I managed to get my toe in front of Jarvis to tap it in.”
Speaking about youngster BJ Banda Funston said, “Everybody knows about BJ because of his goal in the playoffs. But with that goal came a lot of expectations. It’s been difficult for him to get opportunities but with Sligo in the league cup on Monday, and so many of our players being injured there’s an opportunity for him to go and show if he can produce the high standard that he set for himself on Friday. That’s what all top players do. They don’t rest on their laurels, they go and do it consistently. We all feel BJ has the talent to go and be a top player.”
He also spoke about his own challenges this season, “This season for me has been quite challenging. I haven’t had as much game time as I would like. I’m no different to any other player. When you’re working and training hard all week you just want to play. But I’m old enough to know things can change in football very quickly. But the most important thing after being in the club for 12 years is staying in the premiership, should I play or not.”
Photo Credit: JPJPhotography