Dundalk’s excellent away form continued as Stephen Kenny’s men grabbed a last minute win against a shell shocked Derry City at the Brandywell on Friday evening.
In a game of few clear cut chances a break away goal in injury time from substitute Tiarnan Mulvenna was enough to give the Lilywhites all three points as they continue their climb up the table.
The game was mainly played in the midfield area with neither side seeming to have the answers as to how to carve open any clear cut chances but as the game went on Derry went on the offensive with Dundalk content to soak up pressure whilst breaking quickly and effectively when Derry lost the ball. Richie Towell in particular had a superb game as he bossed the midfield area.
The first real chance of any consequence didn't arrive until the 17th minute when a free kick came off the Derry wall and found Towell whose shot forced Gerard Doherty into a smart save. In the 20th minute Derry’s best chance of the match came when Rory Patterson blocked a Peter Cherrie goal kick. He bore down on goal but the Dundalk net minder redeemed himself when saving Patterson’s low drive. In the 28th minute John Dillon beat Shane McEleney for pace and drove in a shot from an acute angle which Doherty managed to palm away.
Derry suffered a double injury blow towards the end of the half when first Patrick McEleney and then Kevin Deery hobbled off and this seemed to disrupt them as Dundalk looked very comfortable in the run up to half time.
Derry began the second period with much more purpose and in the 48th minute a measured through ball from Patterson found Michael Duffy and his shot cannoned off the crossbar before going behind.
Most of the half was a gruelling midfield battle and the next real chance fell to the visitors in the 72nd minute. Another driving run from the superb Towell saw him surge past Greacen and his cross was met by the inrushing Darren Meenan but Ryan McBride managed to block what looked like a certain goal.
There was another couple of half chances for each side as the game seemed to be petering out. Until, that is, the introduction of substitute Tiernan Mulvenna in the 89th minute. In the first minute of injury time Derry were pressing but lost the ball. Dundalk broke quickly and the ball found Mulvenna with his back to goal. He then turned swiftly and slotted the ball past a helpless Gerard Doherty much to the Dundalk fans joy.
There was no real time for the Candystripes to find a leveller and Stephen Kennys delight was clearly evident at the final whistle.
It was another superb away performance from Kennys men and they probably just about deserved to come away with the spoils. Declan Devine will have a lot to think about as his side face a tough programme over the next few weeks.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Shane McEleney, Stewart Greacen, Ryan McBride, Simon Madden; Michael Duffy, Barry Molloy, Kevin Deery (c) (Michael Rafter 38), Barry McNamee, Patrick McEleney (Paddy Kavanagh 30); Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: James Gallagher, Mark Griffin, Joshua Tracey, Ryan Curran, Tony McNamee.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; John Sullivan, Darren Meenan (Tiarnan Mulvenna 89), Andy Boyle (c), Dane Massey; John Dillon, Chris Shields (Stephen McDonnell 45+2), Eoghan Osbourne, Richie Towell, Kurtis Byrne; Patrick Hoban (Vinny Faherty 80).
Subs not used: Aaron Shanahan, Ciaran O'Connor, Francis McCaffery, Jordan Keegan.
Booked: Towell (45+2), Sullivan (65), Boyle (90+3).
Referee: Rob Rodgers.
Attendance: 1,700 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Richie Towell (Dundalk).