First-half goals from Declan O’Brien — also a penalty — and Alan McNally, in response to David McDaid’s early strike, sealed a fourth consecutive win in league and cup for the Boynesiders, ahead of Friday’s FAI Cup quarter-final against St Pat’s.
In an extraordinary start, Derry were awarded a spot kick after only 10 seconds when McDaid was hauled down in the box by McNally. McDaid picked himself up and comprehensively beat Drogs keeper Gabriel Sava from the spot.
Drogheda almost hit back immediately when the ball dropped invitingly for Peter Hynes whose 30-yard shot just cleared the bar. Gavin Brennan then hook a shot a yard wide.
The Boynesiders were then awarded a spot kick of their own on 25 minutes as Ryan Brennan was taken down by Shane McEleney. O’Brien blasted the penalty down the middle to level.
Drogheda almost grabbed the lead on 41 minutes when a driven Gavin Brennan cross struck Shane McEleney and bounced inches wide.
From Eric Foley’s corner kick, however, Alan McNally rose highest to head home via the post and give Drogheda the advantage going into half-time.
The second half burst to life around the hour when McDaid diverted a Brolly cross narrowly over the bar, but the Drogs responded and Peter Hynes had a shot cleared off the line by Barry Molloy before sending a header against the crossbar a minute later.
Substitute Mark Farren went close late on for Derry but Drogheda held on.
DROGHEDA UTD: Sava; Gannon, McNally, Prendergast, Hand; R Brennan, Crowley, Foley (Sullivan 72), G Brennan; Hynes, O’Brien (Mulvenna 88) .
DERRY CITY: Doherty; Madden, S McEleney, Bonner, McCaffrey; P McEleney (Curran 88), McNamee, Higgins (Duffy 32), Molloy, Brolly (Farren 71); McDaid.
Referee: Alan Kelly (Cork).