DUNDALK stretched their unbeaten run to eight league games with a fine success over Derry City at Oriel Park last night.
Goalscorer Colin Hawkins and Scottish goalkeeper Peter Cherrie, who made one truly outstanding save in the first half, played key roles, but the real star of the show was 19-year-old striker Marc Griffin.
A thrilling first half saw both sides create plenty of chances, and, but for Cherrie, Derry could have been three goals to the good.
The Scottish 'keeper's first stop came in the fifth minute when he got down well to deny Eamon Zayed, before he dived to his left to save a Gareth McGlynn penalty 11 minutes later after the Derry attacker had been sent tumbling in the penalty area by Michael Hector.
At the other end, Candystripes 'keeper Ger Doherty had to pull off three fine stops to deny Mark Quigley, while Griffin nearly got to a dangerous cross from Daniel Kearns in the 26th minute. Zayed was again denied by Cherrie in the 27th minute when the striker's vicious effort from 18 yards was well held by the 'keeper.
The best was yet to come seven minutes later, however, Cherrie somehow getting himself in the way of a Zayed effort from eight yards.
The save was to prove even more crucial as Dundalk took the lead in the 43rd minute. A quick break looked to have broke down, but Dean Bennett picked it up on the right and his cross to the back post found centre-back Hawkins, who planted his header past Doherty for the clincher.
After an all-action second half, Derry almost took a share of the spoils in injury-time only for Zayed to turn the ball wide from close range.
DUNDALK -- Cherrie; Madden, Hector, Hawkins, N Murphy; Kearns, Bennett, Bolger, Ward, Quigley; Griffin (Breen 89).
DERRY CITY -- Doherty; McCallion (McDaid 66), Greacen, S McEleney, Lafferty (Harkin 81); McLaughlin (P McEleney 66), Higgins, Molloy, McClean; Zayed, McGlynn.
REF -- D Hancock (Dublin).