Derry City bubble burst by classy Dundalk
Derry City 0-2 Dundalk
A first half red card to Derry City midfielder Conor McCormack paved the way for another Dundalk victory at the Brandywell.
The midfielder went into a 50-50 challenge on Dundalk's Sean Gannon after 24 minutes and referee Rob Harvey adjudged it as dangerous and immediately produced the red card.
It left Derry City to play the league champions with ten men for over an hour, and despite a brave effort from Peter Hutton' steam, the class of Dundalk eventually told. Derry's resistance lasted until added time at the end of the first half as a mistake from defender Rob Cornwall gifted the visitors a goal.
Cornwall failed to clear when under pressure and Dundalk broke quickly, Dane Massey playing a ball into the heart of the penalty area where Ciaran Kilduff was unmarked and he simply slid the ball past Gerard Doherty to give the champions the lead.
Hutton's players put in a brave shift in the second half and good work from Timlin created a crossing opportunity for Dean Jarvis on 64 minutes. The full back's high cross went deep towards Gary Rogers' back post where Rob Cornwall suddenly found himself unmarked, but the angle was against him and he headed straight at the goalkeeper.
But Dundalk reacted strongly to that scare, and Doherty was forced to save his first shot of the second half as John Mountney again got into a promising position in behind the Derry defence and his pass inside found Richie Towell, who brought a smart save from the City goalkeeper.
On 84 minutes the ball broke kindly for McMillan but despite hitting a fierce effort at goal he was denied by a spectacular save from Doherty, who pushed the ball away brilliantly.
But Derry's luck ran out with just two minutes remaining as Seamus Sharkey dallied on the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and Massey dispossessed him before setting up McMillan, who sent a low shot past Doherty into the bottom corner to seal all three points for Dundalk.
Derry City: Doherty, Jarvis, McEneff, McBride (Sharkey 73), McCormack, McNamee, Lowry, Dooley (Curtis 45), Cornwall, Timlin (Curran 82), Barry.
Dundalk: Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, O'Donnell, Horgan, Mountney, Finn, Massey, Kilduff (McMillan 75), Towell.
Referee: Robert Harvey.