Derry City show grit to make a point
Dundalk 2 Derry City 2
Derry City came from behind twice to earn what could be a valuable point at the home of league leaders Dundalk last night.
The Candystripes fought back admirably, with goals from Aaron McEneff and Eoin Toal cancelling out strikes from Robbie Benson and Michael Duffy.
It was an end-to-end game at Oriel Park in which Derry were forced to hang on with 10 men following the late dismissal of Gavin Peers.
Derry were behind after just six minutes when John Mountney got in behind Jack Doyle. His pinpoint cross was between Peers and Toal and Benson headed home.
Kenny Shiels was becoming increasingly frustrated on the sideline but on the pitch his players were holding their own.
The Candystripes stilled their manager's anger on 42 minutes when they won a penalty.
Two Dundalk defenders left the ball to each other and McEneff pounced and raced into the area where he was checked by Daniel Cleary.
Referee Ben Connolly pointed to the spot and McEneff swept in his sixth league goal this season.
But Derry cheers were quickly ended as Dundalk restored their lead with their very next attack.
Derry's Darren Cole inexplicably let the ball past him at the back post, completely unaware of the presence of Duffy behind him, and the Dundalk ace simply swept into the net.
Derry equalised within two minutes of the second half.
Stephen O'Donnell fouled Rory Hale 35 yards from goal and when McEneff swung the free-kick into the packed area, Ronan Curtis got a vital header across goal which Gary Rogers did brilliantly to push away.
But the ball fell into the path of Toal, who fired it into the net before peeling away to celebrate his first goal for the Candystripes.
Dundalk got a huge boost with just four minutes remaining when Peers, already on a caution, went in late and was promptly sent off by referee Connolly, but Derry held on amid the late onslaught to come away with a very creditable point.
DUNDALK: Rogers, Gannon, Hoare, O'Donnell (Chris Shields 77), Duffy, Mountney (Connelly 71), Hoban (Tagbajumi 78), McGrath, Massey, Benson, Cleary.
DERRY CITY: Doherty, Peers, Toal, Cole, Doyle, Hale, McDonagh, McEneff, Low, Curtis, Cofie (Boyle 72).
Referee: Ben Connolly