Derry City 1, Dundalk 4
DERRY CITY's unbeaten record at Brandywell this season came to an abrupt end at the hands of a rampant Dundalk side who moved two points clear at the top of the table following a convincing victory.
Darren Cole had fired Derry into a 12th minute lead with a stunning strike from 25 yards but Dundalk bounced back with goals from Brian Gartland and Robbie Benson to hand the visitors a 2-1 lead at the break.
Former Brandywell favourite, Michael Duffy added a third following a quick counter attack on 50 minutes before substitute, Kristztian Adorjan completed an emphatic win in stoppage time.
It was the third time in the previous four meetings between the clubs that Dundalk scored four goals past Derry with the Candy Stripes registering just one win in the last 11 fixtures against Stephen Kenny's troops - that 3-1 league win at Maginn Park last season!
It was the second game in the space of four days for both these sides and Stephen Kenny made three changes to the team which clinched a late win against Sligo on their last outing,
Jamie McGrath, Dane Massey and George Poynton returned to the starting XI at the expense of Stephen Folan, Dean Jarvis and Ronan Murray.
Kenny Shiels made one enforced change with Rory Hale, who has played in every other fixture this season, suspended and replaced by ex-Sligo Rovers defender, Gavin Peers as Conor McDermott slotted into midfield.
Dundalk were quick out of the blocks and ex-Brandywell favourite, Michael Duffy twice came close in the opening eight minutes.
The winger hit the side netting with a rasping strike from 25 yards before his curling free-kick with the right foot was kept out by a brilliant save at full stretch from Doherty,
The ball was kept alive Sean Hoare whose cross was headed back across goal by Gartland and Pat Hoban headed just wide of the far post.
At the other end Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers came to his side's rescue when saving from Ronan Hale with his feet after Patterson played the winger through with a neat flick.
After riding the storm Derry hit the front on 12 minutes when Dundalk failed to clear from a corner kick and Cole wrapped his foot around the ball and curled it past Rogers who had no chance.
Patterson had a chance for a second on 21 minutes when Hale found him at the back post unmarked but the striker misjudged the flight of the ball and the chance was lost.
Cole came close to adding a second 60 seconds later but headed just wide from Nicky Low's corner.
The warning signs were there for Derry and the home side had Doherty again to thank when he produced a tremendous reaction save to deby claw away Hoare's well struck volley on 25 minutes.
Dundalk levelled matters two minutes later when Gartland rose highest to meet Duffy's corner kick and his header deflected past Doherty.
Five minutes later Dundalk added a second as Jamie McGrath split the defence with a wonderfully paced pass which set Benson through and the midfielder showed composure to round the keeper and fire into the net as Dundalk took the slender lead into the break.
Just five minutes after the break Dundalk added a third from a swift counter attack.
Derry lost possession from a corner and Benson found Duffy breaking through the middle with options on either side and when McDermott slipped, the Dundalk attacker had time to pick his spot and buried it low past Doherty.
Peers headed narrowly over the crossbar on 58 minutes from Low's searching cross from deep as City attempted to get back in the game.
Doherty made himself big to save well from McGrath following a one-two with Hoban on the edge of the area.
Hoare and substitute Marco Tagbajumi both had close range shots cleared by Doherty with two minutes left on the clock as Dundalk finished strongly.
And in stoppage time, substitutes, Tagabajumi and Krisztian Adorjan combined during a quick break with the latter powering a shot from 10 yards past Doherty and into the corner of the net,
Derry City: G. Doherty: D. Cole, E. Toal, G. Peers, J. Doyle (B. Doherty 68); R. Hale (J. McDonagh 60), N. Low, C. McDermott, R. Curtis (N. Boyle 86); A. McEneff; R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - E. Grimes, C. Farren, J. McIntyre, B. Doherty, N. Logue.
Dundalk: G. Rogers; D. Massey, B. Gartland, S. Hoare, G. Poynton (D. Jarvis 64); D. Connolly (K Adorjan 82), C. Shields, R. Benson, M. Duffy; J. McGrath; P. Hoban ( K Adorjan 87); Subs Not Used - G. Sava,, S. Byrne, S. Folan, R Murray.
Referee - Neil Doyle.