Drogheda Utd 1 Derry City 0
Drogheda United earned back-to-back league victories for the first time in five months to leave Tim Clancy’s team looking towards Europe as the SSE Airtricity Premier Division season enters its final stage.
United have been peering nervously over their shoulders in recent weeks as the teams below them in the league made ground - leaving the Louthmen in danger of being dragged into the relegation playoff spot.
Two wins in nine days mean the top four is now in their sights.
Killian Phillips’ first half header earned a deserved three points for the hosts. Derry, for their periods of dominance, were too blunt in attack. They hardly tested David Odumosu.
Both he and Phillips are recent Ireland Under 21 call ups and the latter proved the match winner shortly before the interval.
Mark Doyle’s header from Darragh Markey’s corner hit the upright. The 19-year-old reacted quickest to stoop down and nod in from close range.
This was Drogheda’s first win against Derry City in six years, in both league and cup competition.
The defeat is a blow to their own European aspirations but with five games still to play, there’s ample time for redemption in the race for qualification.
Jamie McGonigle had the best of the opportunities that fell the way of Ruaidhri Higgins’ men but neither forced the Drogheda goalkeeper to extend himself too much.
Jordan Adeyemo went closest to notching the game’s second goal late on but the substitute was denied by Nathan Gartside when played through in injury time.
Drogheda Utd: Odumosu: Redmond, O’Reilly, Massey; Brown, Deegan, Phillips, Kane (Simon, 65): Markey (Heeney, 63), Lyons (Adeyemo, 55), Doyle.
Derry City: Gartside: McJannet, Toal, Coll; Boyce (Malone, 46), Thomson, Harkin (Hery, 54), McLaughlin (Fitzgerald, 54); McGonigle, Akintunde (Walsh, 85); Ogedi Uzokwe.
Referee: P McLaughlin (Donegal)