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Dundalk were far from their best tonight but still got the job done thanks to late drama

John Mountney was the hero once again.

The Lilywhites celebrate their late goal
The Lilywhites celebrate their late goal
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dundalk 1

Derry City 0

JOHN MOUNTNEY PROVIDED a goalscoring cameo from the bench for the second time in a week as Dundalk left it late to secure all three points against a resolute Derry City at Oriel Park.

The 86th minute strike – via a heavy deflection off a Derry defender – followed up his injury time strike against Longford last Saturday and moves Dundalk seven points clear at the top of the Premier Division again. Their Oriel Park record this year now reads seven wins from seven.

Stephen Kenny – formerly of two trophy-laden spells in charge of Derry – was forced to make a change to a Dundalk starting XI he rarely tinkers with in the league. With Brian Gartland’s hamstring injury ruling him out for a couple of weeks, Paddy Barratt came into the centre of defence for a first league start.

Games between the two sides at Brandywell in recent seasons have proved tight affairs – Dundalk’s narrow 1-0 win earlier this season proved testament to that. But at Oriel Park, the Candystripes have offered little resistance against the champions of late. Their last two league visits had seen them ship eight without reply.

In a first half that never really got going, a lacklustre Dundalk left a 3,000 plus home crowd wanting much more. Kenny wasn’t happy with his lot either, spending the entirety of the first period prowling his technical area urging his players to track back or show for the ball. It was noticeable for being such a rare sight if nothing else.

Richie Towell with Seanan Clucas The champions were far from their best but still got the job done Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

David McMillan – without a goal in four going into the game after a blistering start to the season – poked wide early on before Ronan Finn couldn’t rise high enough to reach Richie Towell’s cross. Half chances were all Dundalk had in the opening period.

The most clear cut opportunity fell to Derry’s Cillian Morrison. When Aaron Barry broke free down the left, his cross was met by former Cork City striker Morrison but his header was straight at Rogers.

Five minutes later, the centre forward almost caught out Gary Rogers when the goalkeeper was tasked with dealing with a backpass.

It wasn’t the first time Rogers has looked shaky in such situations in recent weeks. By the groans of the home faithful, you feel there’s an impending sense one will go in sooner rather than later.

Peter Hutton will have hoped his side were the benefactors, but he had to watch as a Daryl Horgan cross almost caught out Shaun Patton before half time.

Dundalk tried to inject their trademark intensity after the break but while the endeavour was clear to see, touches were short, passes astray and wrong decisions frequently made. This wasn’t the champions at their fluent best.

Sub Stephen O’Donnell forced Shaun Patton into a save from a stinging long ranger and Horgan fired over but only after Derry had a legitimate claim for a penalty turned down.

Stephen Kenny It was a frustrating night for Stephen Kenny before Mountney's late intervention Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

After neat footwork from lone striker Morrison, he appeared to be bundled over by Barratt. Referee Jim McKell wasn’t interested.

There was only four minutes left on the clock when the winner came. Mountney worked some space in the area and his shot benefited from a sizeable deflection that left ‘keeper Patton stranded and the ball trickled past him.

With six minutes of injury time to be played, there was time aplenty for more drama.

First a Dundalk breakaway saw Horgan play in Kurtis Byrne but one-on-one with Patton, the Derry reserve keeper came out on top. Then, Dundalk custodian Rogers twice got himself into bother with Barratt and Boyle called into action to hack Derry attempts off the line.

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Paddy Barratt, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields (Stephen O’Donnell, 66), Richie Towell, Ronan Finn (Kurtis Byrne 83), Daryl Horgan, Darren Meenan (John Mountney, 69), David McMillan.

DERRY CITY: Shaun Patton, Dean Jarvis, Ryan McBride, Shane McEleney, Seanan Clucas, Barry McNamee, Aaron Barry, Philip Lowry, Mark Timlin, Cillian Morrison (Ryan Curran, 82), Seamus Sharkey.

Referee: Jim McKell

Man-of-the-match: Andy Boyle

Originally published Friday at 21.56

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About the author:

Barry Landy

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