Harry Ascroft was the hero for Finn Harps with an extra-time winner in a frantic SSE Airtricity League promotion-relegation play-off second leg against Drogheda United.

The Australian managed to get on the end of a corner from Tony McNamee in a crowded penalty area the 107th minute to keep the Donegal outfit in the Premier Division for another season.

Drogheda, who had come through the First Division series of play-offs to reach tonight's finale, had been first leg victors over Ollie Horgan’s team with Chris Lyons posting the only goal on 92 minutes. 

That gave Tim Clancy's side something to hold onto on their journey to the north-west, but the lead wouldn’t last long.

On seven minutes the tie was level on aggregate, with mark Russell connecting with a header from a cross by Ruairi Harkin to steer past Luca Gratzer.

In driving rain on a heavy pitch, opportunities were few and far between, with Russell unable to head a second – as the ball flew over the crossbar - when he was forced to lean back to get something on a corner from Mikey Place on 20 minutes. 

Sam Todd, the Harps central defender, was also off the mark. In his case, a header went wide from another corner – this time when Mark Timlin delivered.

Horgan’s team were 1-0 up on the night at the interval, although the tie was very much on a knife-edge. 

Drogheda had much more of a spring in their step in the second half and Mark Doyle had their first effort on target on 65 minutes when Mark Anthony McGinley got down to his left to save.

At the other end, a minute later, Place saw two bites from a couple of yards out go asunder. From a Russell drive, Place drew a point-blank save from Gratzer and the rebound from the grounded Harps striker clipped the post.

Doyle stretched for an 84th-minute header from a long ball forward by Luke McNally and got the slightest touch, only for McGinley to save comfortably down low.

Extra-time was required. The first period of extra-time produced nothing of note, before Ascroft managed to break Drogheda in the 107th minute.

The Louth team threw all they could in the closing minutes of extra-time, with Todd making a last-ditch tackle in injury time to deny Jordan Adeyemo and Harps managed to frantically clear the corner and retain their top-flight status. 

Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Harry Ascroft, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd; Jacob Borg, Ruairi Harkin (Tony McNamee 94), Gareth Harkin, Mark Timllin, Mark Russell; Raffaele Cretaro (Mark Coyle 90 (Daniel O’Reilly 104)); Mikey Place (Nathan Boyle 73)

Drogheda United: Luca Gratzer; James Brown, Luke McNally, Kevin Farragher, Conor Kane; Stephen Meaney (Adam Wixted half-time), Luke Heeney, Mark Hughes (Jordan Adeyemo 97), Sean Brennan (Jamie Hollywood 61), Mark Doyle; Chris Lyons.

Referee: Neil Doyle