Candystripes Euro dreams dented by Dundalk
Dundalk 3 Derry City 1
Derry City are now playing catch up in the race for European qualification after a damaging defeat at the hands of league champions Dundalk at Oriel Park last night.
While the win keeps Dundalk's hopes of a third successive league title very much alive, it is now a worrying time for Kenny Shiels and his players, who have now fallen behind Shamrock Rovers in the race for third place.
Rovers' win over Galway United means that the Dubliners now hold a one point lead over Derry City ahead of the crucial game between the two teams at the Brandywell on Tuesday.
The Candystripes can have no complaints about last night's defeat, which came despite taking an early lead.
City stunned Oriel Park by scoring after just six minutes, Gary Rogers parrying a fairly straightforward shot from McNamee into the path of Lukas Schubert who nipped in to sweep the visitors into the lead.
But within ten minutes, Dundalk had not only equalised, but they had taken the lead. On 13 minutes, Daryl Horgan's low ball across the face of goal came for John Mountney, who took a touch before shooting low past Gerard Doherty to level.
And just three minutes later, a Daryl Horgan corner was met by a thumping header from Dane Massey which crashed off the crossbar, with Brian Gartland reacting quickest to the loose ball to head home to make it 2-1.
Dundalk's third, which arrived just shy of the hour mark, was simplicity itself from a Dundalk point of view as Daryl Horgan cut in from the left wing and he looked up and picked out the run of McMillan into the penalty area, the striker hooking the ball first time past Doherty and into the corner of the net.
From there, it didn't get any better for Derry City who never looked like making a game of it and it was Dundalk who looked most likely to score again with Dane Massey bringing a fantastic save from Doherty with an audacious volley from wide on the left.
All eyes will be on the Brandywell this Tuesday.
Dundalk: Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, O'Donnell (Benson 79), Horgan, Mountney (Shields 75), McMillan (Kilduff 72), Finn, McEleney, Massey.
Derry City: Doherty, Vemmelund, Jarvis, McEneff, McCormack, McNamee, Patterson, McDermott, Curtis (Boyle 76), Schubert, Karner (Doherty 64)
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.