Westmeath 1-7 Derry 0-13
Derry played the final 20 minutes with just 14 men, but managed to squeeze through to the third round of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers with a three-point win over Westmeath.
They led by six points midway through the second half, but lost midfielder Joe Diver to a second yellow card, and had to dig deep to survive as substitute Martin Flanagan pulled back a goal for the home side.
Dessie Dolan and Paul Bannon exchanged early points with Mark Lynch and Eoin Bradley.
Westmeath, with Dolan and Denis Glennon both operating in withdrawn roles, had to live off scraps in the midfield area, where Joe Diver’s fielding provided the launchpad for Oak Leaf attacks.
Michael Ennis averted a dangerous situation with a perfectly timed tackle on Bradley, before venturing upfield to shoot a Westmeath point.
However, the sides were level for the fourth time moments later when full forward Mark Lynch squeezed over a point from a tight angle in the 24th minute.
Despite losing captain and centre back Gerard O’Kane to injury, the Ulster men stepped up the tempo.
Lynch’s power was posing problems for John Gaffey, and his third score was the pick of five on the spin which eased the Oak Leafers into a double scores lead, 0-8 to 0-4, by the 32nd minute.
David Duffy’s long range score ended a 16-minute barren spell for the home side, who trailed by 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.
The northerners powered on early in the second half for Lynch and Kielt to land long range frees, before Raymond Wilksinson hammered over a wonderful effort from play from wide on the right.
They appeared to be cruising at 0-11 to 0-5, but Westmeath got themselves right back into it when substitute Martin Flanagan punched home Greville’s cross off the underside of the crossbar.
Dolan clipped over a free, and suddenly just two points separated the sides, with Derry now a man down following the second booking dismissal of Diver.
Dolan hit the target again, but Kielt and Bradley both brought their personal totals to five to seal it for the Oaks.
Westmeath: G Connaughton, F Boyle, J Gaffey, K Maguire, M Ennis (0-1), J Keane, D Harte, D Duffy (0-1), P Bannon (0-1), K Martin, C Lynam, G Egan, P Greville, D Dolan (0-4, 2f), DGlennon.
Subs: M Flanagan (1-0) for Lynam (35), C McCormack for Keane (h-t), D O’Donoghue for Maguire (61), I Coffey for Egan (67)
Derry: B Gillis, B Og McAlary, K McGuckin, D McBride, M Craig, G O’Kane, C Kielt, J Diver, J Kielt (0-5, 4f), B McGoldrick, E Bradley (0-2), M Lynch (0-5, 3f), R Wilkinson (0-1).
Subs: D Mullan for O’Kane (17), SL McGoldrick for McKeever (50), B McGuigan for Mullan (67)
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).