Lucky Dundalk strike late to deny Derry
Dundalk 1 Derry City 0
As the clock ticked towards the 88th minute at Oriel Park it looked like the chasing pack had been handed a reprieve.
However, late goals have been a hallmark for Dundalk under Stephen Kenny, and substitute John Mountney’s 87th-minute winner extended their lead at the top to seven points.
The champions lacked a cutting edge in the first half. Their best opportunity came early on when David McMillan pounced on a mistake by Shane McEleney but his shot was wayward.
The visitors grew in stature, with Cillian Morrison’s header forcing Gary Rogers into a save.
The natives grew even more restless in the second half and Derry City had appeals for a penalty waved away when Morrison went down under pressure from Paddy Barrett.
Kenny turned to his bench and Stephen O’Donnell almost broke the deadlock in the 74th minute, his fantastic half-volley tipped over by Shaun Patton.
It looked like Dundalk would be held scoreless of the first time this season but Mountney’s deflected effort proved decisive.
There was still time for late drama. Substitute Kurtis Byrne was denied an insurance goal and Dundalk almost paid the price, with Sean Gannon having to knock the ball off his line in the third minute of stoppage time.
DUNDALK – Rogers; Gannon, Barrett, Boyle, Massey; Towell, Shields (O’Donnell 66); Meenan (Mountney 69), Finn (Byrne 84), Horgan; McMillan.
DERRY CITY – Patton; Sharkey, McBride, McEleney, Barry; Timlin, Clucas, McNamee (Houston 87), Lowry, Jarvis; Morrison (Curran 82).
REF – Jim McKell.