Derry City produced a storming comeback to fight back from 2-0 down to save a point against champions Dundalk in a thrilling contest at Oriel Park.
Derry City 2
Declan Devine’s men looked to be dead and buried after a double from Pat Hoban early in the second half but the Candystripes fought back brilliantly with Darren Cole scoring before a penalty incident, which also saw Hoban red carded, saw Eoghan Stokes level from the spot.
The first action of note in the second half saw Dundalk take the lead on 51 minutes with a goal entirely of Derry’s making. With the visitors in possession, Junior tried a needless backheel that put his own defence in trouble, and great control from Flores on the edge of the box allowed him to pick out the run of the untracked Hoban who slotted left-footed past Cherrie from four yards out, with claims of offside from the visitors ignored.
It was then 2-0 when a Flores free kick was headed behind by Cleary, but the Dundalk dominance paid off on the hour mark when Sean Gannon burst down the right and floated in a cross that wasn’t dealt with by Toal, and Hoban was lurking behind for an easy headed finish.
City grabbed a lifeline out of nowhere on 68 minutes when a Duffy header only came as far as Cole and he drilled a superb low effort through bodies and beyond the grasp of Rogers to the bottom right corner.
The game turned on its head with 11 minutes remaining when a scramble in a packed box saw Robert Hennessy blow for a foul as Toal got in a header with Rogers in no man’s land. As a result of the infringement, which appeared to be for handball, the referee issued a second yellow card to Hoban, and substitute Eoghan Stokes, on the pitch less than two minutes, took control with a slow run up before sending Rogers the wrong way to level.
John Mountney had a half chance to win it in the final moments, but once again Toal produced some brilliant defending, putting his body on the line to block the shot and bring an end to a superb game.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Chris Shields, Jordan Flores (John Moutney 70), Michael Duffy, Patrick Hoban, Patrick McEleney, Daniel Cleary, Daniel Kelly (Georgie Kelly 83), Dean Jarvis.
DERRY CITY: Peter Cherrie, Ciaran Coll, Ciaron Harkin (Eoghan Stokes 78), Greg Sloggett, Jamie McDonagh (Aidy Delap 67), David Parkhouse, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Patrick McClean 96), Eoin Toal, Darren Cole, Ally Gilchrist, Barry McNamee.
REFEREE: Robert Hennessy.
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