Jordan Mustoe and Tunde Owolabi scored the goals as in-form Finn Harps defeated Shamrock Rovers for the first time since 2008 to win for the sixth time on the bounce.

Stephen Bradley's Rovers, on the other hand, have lost each of their last four - their home and away defeats to Flora Tallinn in Europe and then Bohemians in the FAI Cup - and are now joined at the table’s top by St Patrick’s Athletics, who have played two games more.

Mustoe’s first goal for Harps laid the foundations for a famous night in Ballybofey, although Rovers managed to grab a leveller through an unlikely source - an own goal from Harps’ top-scorer Adam Foley. However, on 85 minutes, Owolabi continued his hot run of form to bundle home a winner.

Travelling to the north-west, the league leaders were fully aware they'd get their fill of it at Finn Park and right on 10 minutes, Foley broke the visitors’ defensive line from goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley’s clearance and managed to connect only to see a scampering Alan Mannus gather.

Ten minutes later, a flowing Harps move involving Mark Coyle and Foley found Will Seymore in space and the American’s drive pierced through the dusking air - not far off the target from 25 yards.

Owolabi and Rovers’ Barry Cotter were locked in the most intriguing battle of the match, with both players enjoying their moments of supremacy and it looked until the end it would be the new signing who would shade the battle.

Dylan Watts was on the end of the first Rovers opening on 35 minutes, finding a rare pocket of space in the Harps penalty area and poked an effort that ran inches across the face of the goal with no takers.

Bradley’s side was a shuffled pack. Daniel Mandroiu’s indiscretion against Bohemians in the FAI Cup brought a one-match ban to join Ronan Finn on the suspension list, whilst Liam Scales departed the club for Celtic before being called up to the Irish squad by Stephen Kenny.

Roberto Lopes unavailable due to World Cup qualifiers with Cape Verde. Lee Grace, Sean Hoare, Sean Kavanagh and Neil Farrugia.

Babatunde Owolabi of Finn Harps celebrates

Earlier this season Harps had battled gamely with the league champions only to go down 2-0 to second half goals through Rory Gaffney and Sean Hoare.

And tonight, just to act as something of a reminder, Gaffney flashed a shot in a crowded penalty area that struck the base of the Harps post with McGinley rooted to the spot six minutes into the second half.

Left-back Mustoe swept home a superb opening goal having come in off his channel on 56 minutes when teed up by Ryan Rainey, with Barry McNamee, Seymore, Dave Webster and Foley all involved in the intricate move.

However, disaster struck for the hosts when Foley on 71 tried to be too delicate in attempting to head a cross from Watts back to his own goalkeeper McGinley, only to get that sense of dread running through his veins as it nestled in the corner.

However, with it looking like a share of the spoils wouldn’t be the worst result for either side, Owolabi bundled home a close-range header following a cross from substitute Karl O’Sullivan who’d been fed by Webster on the run.

Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Dave Webster, Shane McEleney, Kosovar Sadiki, Jordan Mustoe; Will Seymore, Mark Coyle; Adam Foley (Karl O’Sullivan 72), Barry McNamee, Ryan Rainey (Ryan Connolly 88); Tunde Owolabi (Sean Boyd 90+2).

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Gannon, Barry Cotter, Joey O’Brien; Max Murphy (Aidomo Emakhu 69), Richie Towell, Aaron Greene, Gary O’Neill, Dylan Watts; Rory Gaffney, Graham Burke.

Referee: Damien McGraith.