Derry City kept up the pace with league leaders Dundalk after the two side’s drew 1-1 at Oriel Park on Friday night.
The clubs are locked level on points at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division after both side’s finished the match with 10 men.
The home side got off to the perfect start when Dane Massey’s quick free-kick on the left found Ronan Finn and he picked out David McMillan, who drilled home low into the corner from 10 yards out in only the third minute of the game.
Dundalk looked to press home their advantage and Brian Gartland rose to meet a Darren Meenan corner six minutes later. However, his header hit McMillan who just couldn’t adjust his feet to divert the ball goalwards.
Dundalk went close again when Daryl Horgan cut in from the left to leave Harry Monaghan in his wake but his right-footed effort crept just wide of Doherty’s post.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute when Chris Shields was sent-off for a second yellow card after a foul on Rory Patterson.
This seemed to boost City who soon worked their way back into the game.
Harry Monaghan’s defence-splitting pass sent Patterson in on the right. The striker’s effort beat Gary Rogers, only to see it come back off the post but Barry McNamee was there to slide home the loose ball.
Derry’s momentum was halted nine minutes later when Conor McCormack saw red at Oriel Park for the second time in his career by picking up another yellow card for a foul on McMillan.
The league champions had a good chance to clinch all three points three minutes from the end but Stephen O’Donnell’s brilliant header was superbly saved by Ger Doherty.
The Candystripes remain unbeaten in five league fixtures, having won their previous four matches prior to this game.