Derry left dejected by late leveller

Derry City 2 Dundalk 2

Derry left dejected by late leveller

Richie Towell spared Dundalk’s blushes at the Brandywell last night, the midfielder’s last-gasp shot, which took a wicked deflection, sending the Derry City fans home devastated.

There’s no doubt that Stephen Kenny will be relieved, but his failure to win sees Cork City move to within two points of the leaders.

For Peter Hutton, that late, late goal will have frustrated him as he watched his side not only bounce back after falling behind, but after taking the lead, the home side played out the final 20 minutes with just 10 men after the sending-off of captain, Cliff Byrne.

In an all-action affair, Dundalk’s Daryl Horgan was the first to threaten in the 14th minute but his shot failed to find the target.

And as the visitors continued to press, Dane Massey’s header wasn’t far away after Darren Meenan had delivered the ball into the danger area.

However, the home side actually had the ball in the net in the 25th minute. A magnificent pass from Barry McNamee saw Rory Patterson produce a deft flick over the head of Peter Cherrie but just as the Brandywell began to celebrate, referee, Rob Rogers ruled it out for offside.

Dundalk bounced back immediately with Towell shooting narrowly wide after Meenan again supplied the ammunition.

Derry’s Aaron Barry did well to race back and get in front of Dundalk’s Kurtis Byrne in the 28th minute after the striker had been sent free following a long ball from defence, and a glorious chance was lost.

Dundalk’s persistence finally paid off in the 43rd minute but it wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that Kenny’s men got the rub of the green.

The ball was played over the home defence and while Byrne was clearly in an offside position, the ball came off the heel of Barry Molloy to play him in and the Dundalk striker gave Ger Doherty no chance from close range.

The Candystripes struck back almost immediately. The hard-working McNamee refused to allow the visiting defence to settle in possession and having won the ball, he side-stepped two challenges before poking it past the startled Peter Cherrie.

And Derry stunned Dundalk when they moved into the driving seat in the 51st minute, after a superb strike from 35 yards.

McNamee picked up possession in the centre of the park before finding teenager Michael Duffy in space and as the Dundalk defence appeared to step back, the youngster let fly and the ball screamed into the top corner of the net for his fifth league goal of the season.

Doherty was called into action on the hour to deny Meenan, the Derry goalkeeper saving the low shot at the second attempt, as Dundalk continued to battle.

And the home side’s cause was not helped in the 70th minute when Derry captain, Cliff Byrne, was sent off after an off-the-ball challenge on Dundalk substitute, Patrick Hoban. Referee, Rob Rogers, who didn’t witness the incident, consulted an assistant, and was Byrne alleged to have used an elbow on Hoban.

Facing a nervous final 15 minutes, Derry breathed a sigh of relief in the 82nd minute when Byrne blasted the ball over the bar when well placed.

However, Derry were devastated in injury time as Towell’s shot deflected off a colleague giving Doherty no chance.

DERRY CITY: Doherty; Jarvis, Byrne, McBride, Barry; Molloy, B. McNamee; Timlin, P. McEleney (S. McEleney, 76), Duffy; Patterson (Boyle, 90).

DUNDALK: Cherrie; Gannon, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Meenan, Towell, Sheils (Higgins, 73), Horgan (Griffin, 54); Mountney (Hoban), Byrne,

Referee: R Rogers (Dublin).

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