Michael Duffy’s second goal of the season proved a crucial one for Vinny Perth as Dundalk recorded their first win since his return as manager.
While Drogheda United have enjoyed a better season than their Louth rivals, they were second best, failing to test Alessio Abibi over the 90 minutes.
Duffy, a key member of Perth’s 2019 title-winning season, displayed a rare bit of class in a scrappy match by bagging the winner on 35 minutes.
When his fellow Derry-native brushed off Killian Phillips on the right wing to whip in a cross, Duffy’s header forced David Odumosu to dive full-stretch.
He recovered to thwart the rebound from Pat Hoban but the ball fell perfectly for Duffy to smash it home through the legs of Danny O’Reilly on the line.
Drogs defender Dane Massey headed over approaching the break while Darragh Markey fired straight at Abibi after it.
But they were half-chances and the most that Tim Clancy’s side could muster on a frustrating night for Drogs.
When the unconvincing Abibi flapped at a few crosses in the second, nobody from the home side were there waiting to pounce.
Indeed, it was Dundalk who might have scored again before the end. McEleney blasted over the crossbar with 20 minutes left and Odumosu darted across his goal to bat away a stinging free-kick by Duffy.
After Friday’s homecoming ended in a 1-1 draw against bottom side Longford Town, Perth’s second game was more rewarding. Their third win in nine moves them up a place to seventh.
D Odumosu; J Brown, D O’Reilly, D Massey, C Kane; L Heeney (J Clarke 83), G Deegan, K Phillips; D Markey (J Adeyemo 64), C Lyons, M Doyle (R Murray 65).
A Abibi; R Jurkovskis, A Boyle, S Nattestad, D Leahy (C Dummigan 59); P McEleney (S Stanton 87), C Shields, G Sloggett; D Kelly (S Murray 59), P Hoban (D McMillan 73), M Duffy.
Graham Kelly (Cork).