DERRY CITY 0 DUNDALK 1
Dundalk may have been wearing the colours, but it was not to be a Black Friday at the Brandywell, the reigning champions deserving of their victory over Derry City.
Stephen Kenny’s side more or less dominated the ball excepting a busy 15 minutes spell for Derry after the break, but the home side’s lack of punch in the final third certainly did not help.
Dundalk made it clear from the outset that they had travelled to win and after just four minutes David McMillan’s snap-shot was directed at the body of Derry keeper, Ger Doherty, who blocked the effort from close range.
And Derry had another lucky escape in the 28th minute.
A poor kick-out by Doherty was intercepted by John Mountney and when he found McMillan, the Derry keeper did well to block with his legs and clear the danger.
However, after the break the Candystripes stepped up a gear with both Philip Lowry and Ryan Curran going close.
In fact, Derry created their best scoring chance in the 56th minute when Curran sent Mark Timlin scampering clear on the right. However, as the winger was about to shoot Dane Massey produced a superb tackle to save the day for Dundalk.
With the estimated attendance of over 3,000, it was the visitors who finally broke the deadlock in the 64th minute.
Constantly probing the Derry defence, Ronan Finn produced a magnificent pass to sent Dane Massey in the clear and he did well when guiding the ball home from just outside the penalty area.
That goal deflated Derry with Dundalk stepping up to control the game and the home side’s lack of a cutting edge was clear for all to see - new strikers, Anthony Elding and Cillian Morrison still in the treatment room.
With Dundalk comfortable in defence and retaining the ball with authority, Stephen Kenny will have been particularly happy with this performance.
Derry City: Doherty; S. Kelly (G. Kelly, 86), McBride, S. McEleney, Barry; Timlin (Daniels, 78), Lowry, McNamee, Houston; P.McEleney; Curran.
Dundalk: Rodgers; Gannon, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Shields; Mountney (Grimes, 90), Towell, Finn, Horgan (Meenan, 61); McMillan (Byrne, 77).
Referee: Mr. P. Tuite (Dublin).