DERRY CITY 2 DUNDALK 2
Richie Towell spared Dundalk’s blushes at the Brandywell last night, the midfielder’s last gasp shot, which took a wicked deflection, sending Derry City home devastated.
There’s no doubt that Stephen Kenny will be the more relieved, but his failure to win sees Cork City move to within two points of the leaders.
For Peter Hutton, that late, late goal will have frustrated him as he watched his side not only bounce back after falling behind, but after taking the lead the home side played out the final 20 minutes with just 10 men following the sending off of captain, Clifrf Byrne.
In an all-action affair, Dundalk’s Daryl Horgan was the first to threaten in the 14th minute but his shot failed to find the target.
And as the visitors continued to press, Dane Massey’s header wasn’t far away after Darren Meenan had delivered the ball into the danger area.
However, the hoe side actually had the ball in the net in the 25th minute. A magnificent pass from Barry McNamee saw Rory Patterson produce a deft flick over the head of Peter Cherrie but just at the Brandywell began to celebrate, referee, Rob Rogers ruled the “goal” out for offside.
Dundalk bounced back immediately with Richie Towell shooting narrowly wide after Meenan again supplied the ammunition.
Derry’s Aaron Barry did well to race back and get in front of Dundalk’s Kurtis Byrne in the 28th minute after the striker had been sent free following a long ball from defence, and a glorious chance was lost.
But Dundalk’s persistence finally paid off in the 43rd minute but it would fair to suggest that Stephen Kenny’s men got the rub of the green.
The ball was played over the home defence and while Byrne was clearly in an offside position, the came off the heel of Barry Molloy to play him in and the Dundalk striker gave Ger Doherty no chance from close range.
Sensationally, the Candystrikes struck back almost immediately. The hard-working McNamee refused to allow the visiting defence to settle in possession and having won the ball, he side-stepped two challenges before poking it past the startled Peter Cherrie.
And the home lot stunned Dundalk when they moved into the driving seat in the 51st minute following an absolutely superb strike from 35 yards.
McNamee picked up possession in the centre of the park before finding teenager, Michael Duffy in space and as the Dundalk defence appeared to step back, the youngster let fly, the ball screaming into the top corner of the net, Duffy’s fifth league goal of the season.
Doherty was called into action on the hour to deny Meenan, the Derry keeper saving the low shot at the second attempt, as Dundalk continued to battle.
And the home side’s cause was not helped in the 70th minute when Derry captain, Cliff Byrne, was sent off following was was an off the ball challenge on Dundalk substitute, Patrick Hoban.
Referee, Rob Rogers, who didn’t witness the incident, consulted an assistant, Byrne alleged to have used an elbow on Hoban who can been brought on a the expese of John Mountney two mnutes earlier.
Facing a nervous final 15 minutes, Derry breathed a sigh of relief in the 82nd minute when Byrne blasted the ball over the bar when well placed.
However, Derry were devasted in the dying minutes of injury time as Richie Towell’s shot deflected off a colleague giving Doherty not chance and Dundalk’s blushes had been spared.
DERRY CITY: Doherty; Jarvis, Byrne, McBride, Barry; Molloy, B. McNamee; Timlin, P. McEleney (S. McEleney, 76), Duffy; Patterson (Boyle, 90).
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Gannon, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Meenan, Towell, Sheils (Higgins, 73), Horgan (Griffin, 54); Mountney (Hoban), Byrne,
REFEREE: Rob Rogers (Dublin).