McNamee's leveller stalls champions
Dundalk 1-1 Derry City
Derry City secured a huge point at the home of champions Dundalk in an entertaining game at Oriel Park.
In a match which had everything, Dundalk scored early through David McMillan and looked set to dominate, only for a red card to Chris Shields in the second period, which changed the game completely.
Within minutes Barry McNamee equalised with his first goal of the season. Both teams went for the win in the closing stages, but with Derry also being reduced to 10 men when Conor McCormack saw red, they had to make do with a hard-fought share of the spoils.
With so much at stake in the game, Derry boss Kenny Shiels would have wanted his team to be fully focused from the kick-off, but the visitors suffered the worst possible start as they conceded within three minutes.
It was a goal which could have been avoided as a free-kick taken just outside the City box was taken quickly by Ronan Finn.
The City players failed to react and David McMillan ran through on goal before flicking a left-footed shot past Gerard Doherty and into the corner of the net.
Dundalk roared forward full of confidence after that goal and it seemed that Derry City were in danger of being swept aside, with Brian Gartland coming close to doubling the lead on eight minutes when his downward header from Darren Meenan's corner was somehow cleared.
Dundalk's momentum took a huge blow in the second half when Chris Shiels was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.
That gave Derry City a huge boost and within 10 minutes they grabbed an unlikely equaliser.
Harry Monaghan played a killer ball through the Dundalk defence to put Rory Patterson through on goal, and his first-time shot beat Gary Rogers, but came back off the base of the post. It broke kindly for McNamee and he beat the Dundalk defence to the loose ball and slid it into the open goal.
The game took another twist when just eight minutes after that equaliser, McCormack saw red for a second bookable defence, with referee Padraig Sutton evening the numbers with the dismissal.
It was frustration for Dundalk, but another very impressive performance and result for Derry who are now unbeaten in five games.
Dundalk: Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Shields, O'Donnell, Horgan, McMillan (Kilduff 77 mins), Finn, Massey, Meenan (McEleney 77 mins)
Derry City: Doherty, Jarvis, Barry, McBride, Vemmelund, McCormack, Monaghan, McEneff (Ward 65 mins), McGlynn (Curtis 14 mins), McNamee, Patterson
Referee: Padraig Sutton