Derry City 0, Dundalk 5
TEN MAN Derry City were blown away by a rampant Dundalk at Brandywell as David McMillan grabbed a hat-trick in the five goal rout - City’s biggest loss of the season!
McMillan took his season’s tally to nine goals with a first half brace and a stunning strike with nine minutes to go to move the Lilywhites six points clear on the summit.
Derry City skipper, Ryan McBride was given his marching orders for a reckless tackle on Stephen O’Donnell on 29 minutes to leave the home lot with a mountain to climb.
And Dane Massey and Daryl Horgan were also on the scoresheet as Stephen Kenny’s troops march towards a third consecutive title.
Derry City boss, Kenny Shiels, who claimed it was a ‘win or bust’ match in terms of his side’s participation in the title race, must surely admit defeat as they moved 12 points off the pace.
Shiels had made three changes from the team which scraped past Wexford Youths last week.
Carlingford native, Conor McCormack returned from suspension while Harry Monaghan made his first appearance in nine weeks after recovering from knee ligament damage.
Austrian, Lukas Schubert, also returning from injury, was the only other change with Josh Daniels, ex-Dundalk man, Keith Ward and last week’s match winner, Nathan Boyle all missing out.
Dundalk made just the two changes from their 2-0 win over St Pat’s and they proved a masterstroke with goalscorers, Massey and McMillan, replacing Shane Grimes and Ciaran Kilduff in a near full strength side.
The Lilywhites got off to the best possible start from a Daryl Horgan corner with just two minutes on the clock as Gartland towered above his marker and his downward header was poked past Gerard Doherty and into the net by McMillan.
Rory Patterson’s free-kick two minutes later skimmed off the surface but went harmlessly wide of the mark.
Patterson came so close to the equaliser on 15 minutes when he did superbly to steer Niclas Vemmelund’s cross towards goal with his head but Gary Rogers turned it over the bar at full stretch.
But five minutes later Dundalk stretched their lead from ex-Derry City man, Patrick McEleney’s free-kick as Massey flicked it into the corner of the net from 12 yards.
And it got a lot worse for the Candystripes just before the half hour mark when skipper McBride was shown a straight red for a rash challenge on Dundalk captain, O’Donnell just inside the Derry half.
Dundalk were toying with their hosts and when Sean Gannon played McMillan clean through on goal five minutes before the break, the striker confidently slotted the ball past Doherty to kill off any slim hopes of a City comeback.
Barry McNamee, however, refused to accept defeat and after a solo run towards goal, his right footed strike from the edge of the box was palmed behind by Rogers.
But not even Ireland winger, James McClean or N. Ireland’s Shane Ferguson, who were among the attendance, could turn this one around for the Candystripes!
Derry started the second half with a real purpose but it was Mountney who tried his luck from distance 10 minutes after the restart and Doherty needed to punch it clear.
And the visitors added a fourth when McMillan’s close range shot was closed down by Doherty but it fell kindly to Horgan who volleyed it into the open net.
Derry survived a penalty claim on 74 minutes when Conor McDermott appeared to impede Darren Meenan but the referee waved ‘play on’.
Doherty then denied McMillan his hat-trick when he parried away the Dundlak striker’s 25 yard strike.
But the Derry keeper could do nothing to stop McMillan’s rifled shot from 20 yards which nestled into the net.
McDermott denied a late consolation by a great save from Rogers when he broke clear on goal.
Derry City - G. Doherty; N. Vemmelund, A. Barry, R. McBride, D. Jarvis (P. McClean 70); C. McCormack, A. McEneff; H. Monaghan (N. Boyle h-t), B. McNamee, L. Schubert (C. McDermott 39); R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - M. McElhinney, J. Daniels, R. Curtis, R. Holden.
Dundalk - G. Rogers; S. Gannon, B. Gartland (P. Barrett 79), A. Boyle, D. Massey (S. Grimes 66); D. Horgan, J. Mountney, S. O’Donnell, P. McEleney; R. Finn; D. McMillan; Subs Not Used - G. Sava, R. Benson, C. O’Connor, D. Meenan, M. O’Connor.
Referee - Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).