Barry McNamee hit a second half hat trick as Derry City routed Drogheda United at Maginn Park.
It is now four wins from four for the Candy Stripes, who were too clinical for Drogheda, who will feel hard done by the result.
Drogheda defended in numbers to frustrate Derry and their game plan almost worked to perfection just before the half hour when the visitors countered and Stephen Elliott went through on goal against Gerard Doherty, only for the City goalkeeper to come out on top with a superb save.
Drogheda were beginning to cause Derry some serious problems in the counterattack and Elliott should have scored again, when he got on the end of a cross from Shane Elworthy but headed over when completely unmarked.
But the half ended on a high for the Candy Stripes, as they finally broke the deadlock, Curtis collecting a cross from Josh Daniels before turning sharply and hooking the ball past McGuinness to make it 1-0 on 41 minutes.
There was very little between the teams in the second period with Drogheda very much in the game, but the tie was decided in two explosive minutes as Derry put the game to bed spectacularly.
With just twelve minutes remaining Drogheda’s Conor Kane attempted to head clear but only succeeded in heading it backwards to Ronan Curtis, coming back from an offside position. Curtis headed the ball across goal for Barry McNamee, who still had a lot to do, as he beat one defender before flicking the ball nonchalantly over McGuinness to make it 2-0.
Just sixty seconds later and the game was over as a contest as Derry scored again. Drogheda were caught short in midfield and McNamee played Josh Daniels in on goal. McGuinness denied Daniels his goal but the rebound fell back to McNamee who drilled through the crowd and into the net for his second goal in as many minutes.
The day belonged to McNamee who then completed his hat trick in spectacular fashion with seven minutes remaining, whipping a superb free kick into the top corner from 25 yards to claim his first senior treble.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Dean Jarvis, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry, Lukas Schubert, Nicky Low (Rory Holden 78’), Aaron McEneff, Barry McNamee, Joshua Daniels, Mark Timlin (Nathan Boyle 64’), Ronan Curtis (Mikhail Kennedy 78’).
Drogheda: Stephen McGuinness, Colm Deasy, Lloyd Buckley, Jake Hyland, Sean Thorton (Ryan McIvor 83’), Gavin Brennan (Gareth McCaffrey 67’), Ciaran McGuigan, Conor Kane, Stephen Elliott, Richie Purdy, Shane Elworthy (Thomas Byrne 58’).
Referee: Ray Matthews.