Airtricity League Premier Division
Derry City 3, Dundalk 1
THE LIGHTS went out on Dundalk’s perfect start to the season last night as Derry City clinched a first win over the champions since April 2013 !
Stephen Kenny’s troops came into the game unbeaten in their last 14 matches against City who last defeated the Lilywhites at Oriel Park 3-1 four years ago - the Dubliner’s first season at the club.
It was a sensational victory for the home side who followed up on a superb 1-0 win over Shamrock Rovers four days previously with another impressive three points to maintain a 100 per cent start to their 2017 campaign.
Dundalk had deservedly taken the lead from a glancing Dane Massey header on 16 minutes but Nathan Boyle’s timely equaliser arrived on the stroke of half-time.
The Candy Stripes stepped it up a gear in the second half and goals from Barry McNamee and a powerful header from man of the match, Ryan McBride seven minutes from time ensured a first win for City at their new Buncrana base.
Shiels had made one enforced change to the team which won in Tallaght with 19 year-old Scott Whiteside replacing the suspended Lukas Schubert at right-back.
As for Dundalk, former City defender, Niclas Vemmelund was dropped to the bench as regular left-back Massey returned from a hamstring injury while John Mountney came in for Jamie McGrath.
Derry threatened after three minutes following superb work from Curtis on the left as he cut back on his right foot, delivered a dangerous cross into the Dundalk area but Monaghan put the ball just wide of the near post.
Gerard Doherty denied Massey with a stunning point blank save on 15 minutes when the Dundalk defender out-jumped Whiteside and headed John Mountney’s corner towards the corner of the net and the City stopper parried the ball behind.
The warning signs were there for the Foylesiders and from the resultant corner, Mountney again found Massey who peeled off his marker and sent his glancing header into the far corner of the net.
The home side enjoyed an encouraging spell on the half hour mark and almost capitalised on a stunning pass from McEneff which sliced through the Dundalk defence and found McNamee but Paddy Barrett cleared.
Dundalk came so close to adding a second through Mountney but out of nothing Derry equalised on the stroke of half-time, Boyle bringing the ball down neatly on the edge of the area, held off the challenge of Brian Gartland and dribbled towards goal before slotting his effort under the body of Gabriel Sava - a magnificent solo effort.
The Lilywhites’ aeriel threat was causing Derry real problems and five minutes after the restart Patrick McEleney got in behind Dean Jarvis but his inswinging cross was headed wide by Ciaran Kilduff under pressure from Whiteside,
Two former Candystripes combined on 65 minutes with Duffy finding McEleney in space and the skilful attacker dribbled towards the near post but McBride closed down the angle and the Dundalk man’s tame shot was saved easily by Doherty.
Derry deservedly hit the front on 68 minutes when McEneff’ powerful drive from distance was spilled by Sava and McNamee reacted quickest to lift the rebound over the head of the Dundalk keeper and into the net.
City skipper, McBride then added a third when he met Nicky Low’s corner and powered his close range header past Sava for his second goal in two games.
McEneff tried his luck from 25 yards only to be denied by Sava who tipped his effort over the crossbar.
But the home lot had done enough to clinch a valuable win to maintain what has been a hugely encouraging start to the league campaign
Derry City: Gerard. Doherty; Scott Whiteside, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Harry Monaghan (Josh Daniels 90), Nicky Low, Aaron McEneff, Barry McNamee; Ronan Curtis, Nathan Boyle (Mikhail Kennedy 90); Subs Not Used - Eric Grimes, Rory Holden, Mark Timlin, Ben Doherty Alon Netzer.
Dundalk: Gabriel Sava; Dane Massey, Brian Gartland, Paddy Barrett, Sean Gannon; Michael Duffy (David McMillan 77), John Mountney (Stephen Kinsella 80), Robbie Benson, Conor Clifford; Patrick McEleney; Ciaran Kilduff (Thomas Stewart 61) Subs Not Used - Gary Rogers, Chris Shields, David McMillan, Jamie McGrath, Niclas Vemmelund.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).