It was, in many ways, a typical Derry performance as goals from Patrick McEleney and Michael Rafter shot them past a determined Bohemians at the Brandywell on Friday night to keep the heat cranked up on St Patrick's Athletic.
When Kevin Devanney cancelled out McEleney's opener, a nervy second half ensued, only for Rafter to stroke home nine minutes after the restart.
It wasn't a performance of much refinement or flair, but in a League of these inches it is the bottom line that counts. City won and their bid for a first League title since 1997 continues.
Much of this performance was down to Simon Madden, the marauding right-back who played the key part in both goals. It was from his cross that Patrick McEleney was enabled to beautifully curl home the opener, but it was his role in the second that provided the night's moment of magic. A skilful flick around Michael Barker left the Bohs full-back seeing stars, before his inch-perfect cross was swept to the net by Rafter.
The League's leading marksman, Rory Patterson, was absent because of a suspension, but any fears from the locals about coping without a man who has 14 League goals to his name were quelled as early as the eighth minute. Madden went on one of those patented runs of his down the right channel and crossed for McEleney. With Barker for company on the edge of the box, McEleney swept home, past Dean Delaney into the far corner.
Derry brought Rafter, Mark Griffin, and Stewart Greacen into their side, Devine making three switches to the eleven that defeated Bray 3-2 a fortnight ago. The statistics all weighed in the home side's favour, even in Patterson's absence and a busy night seemed in store for Delaney.
Kavanagh tested the palms of the Bohs stopper in the 15th minute, but he did well to save while Kevin Deery shot wide after being teed up by McEleney. In between, there was a brief moment of panic at the other end, Karl Moore knocking just wide after City's rearguard failed to deal with Keith Buckley's cross.
Bohemians headed North West having not won against Derry since 2009 and having posted just one away win all season. Despite having just one win from their last ten, they had another great chance of getting level, but again it was spurned.
Dave Scully robbed possession and, after making good ground, he squared for Devanney, but his pass had way too much on it. When Devanney turned across goal, Moore again had the chance, but the stretching Doherty's fingertips kept the City sheet clean.
Derry were not looking at all solid and just before the break Bohs drew level. Buckley's deep cross found Ryan McEvoy and when he turned back in for Devanney, the winger could hardly believe his luck as he steered high into the roof of the net from four yards.
The warning signs had been posted and Devine will surely have rapped the knuckles at the break. In the opening minute of part two, they served notice of their intentions, Griffin's cross for Rafter just not falling right before Rafter headed narrowly over from their next attack. It was a case of third time lucky for Rafter, though, as he steered home from Madden's centre.
There were still some anxious moments for the Candystripes as Roberto Lopes stung Doherty's gloves from distance while Chris Lyons fired just wide nine minutes from the end. City, too, had chances to copper-fasten the win - Sean Houston failing to hit the target and an opportune hit from McEleney just missing out on a spot on the top shelf.
When the long whistle came, relieving sighs accompanied the cheers into the Foyleside air as City keep up their pursuit of Pats.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Stewart Greacen, Barry McNamee; Mark Griffin (Michael Duffy 57), Ruaidhri Higgins (Barry Molloy 68), Patrick McEleney; Patrick Kavanagh (Sean Houston 71), Michael Rafter.
Subs not used: Ryan McBride, James Gallagher, Ryan Curran, Raymond Foy.
Bohemians: Dean Delaney; Michael Barker, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne, Ciaran Nagle (Chris Lyons 77); Karl Moore, Ryan McEvoy, Keith Buckley, Kevin Devanney (Andy Mulligan 46); Dave Scully, Shane Murray (Kevin O'Leary 88).
Subs not used: Daragh Raynor, Michael Scott, Gregg Murray, Santiago Falbo.
Booked: Karl Moore (52), Michael Barker (65).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton (Clare).
Attendance: 1,300 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Simon Madden (Derry City).