Dundalk 2 Derry City 2
SUBSTITUTE, Eoghan Stokes' 82nd minute penalty with his first touch of the match rescued a point for Derry City in dramatic fashion as they came back from a two goal deficit against 10 man Dundalk at Oriel Park.
Pat Hoban netted an early second half brace to take his season's tally to nine goals and Dundalk looked well in control of the match.
However, Derry fought back with a fine strike from Darren Cole on 69 minutes before a dramatic twist with 10 minutes to go saw Hoban sent off for a handball inside the penalty area and the visitors were awarded a spot-kick.
Up stepped substitute, Stokes who rolled the ball into the net for an equalising goal which ended the champions' five match winning streak as Derry moved four points clear of fifth placed St Pat's who they meet next Friday night.
Declan Devine made two changes from Monday night's defeat to Bohemians with David Parkhouse returning from suspension to lead the attack.
Defender, Ally Gilchrist made his first start since the home loss to Shamrock Rovers on April 19th while Patrick McClean and Stokes both dropped to the bench.
Dundalk head coach, Vinny Perth also made two changes from the team which defeated Waterford with Jordan Flores, who netted his first goal for the club against the Blues replacing the injured Jamie McGrath while Dan Casey returned to take the place of Brian Gartland.
Dundalk were controlling the early stages with Patrick McEleney ominously dictating much of the play. Michael Duffy's dangerous corner kick bounced into the six yard box but there was no one to make that vital touch.
Parkhouse tried his luck from 20 yards but was well wide of the mark on 12 minutes while Barry McNamee couldn't keep his close range shot down from a Jamie McDonagh cross towards the back post six minutes later.
Daniel Kelly went on a promising run into the penalty area but his shot went harmlessly wide just short of the half hour mark.
Nine minutes before the break, Greg Sloggett played the ball back to Cherrie at pace which put the stopper in trouble and when he took a touch, Pat Hoban took it off his toe. The Dundalk striker pulled it back to Duffy and his shot from 10 yards was parried away superbly by Cherrie.
McDonagh fizzed the ball across the face of goal on 42 minutes and Sean Gannon needed to react quickly to put the ball behind for a corner with Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe lurking at the back post.
Duffy then raced towards goal from the left wing but dragged his shot wide of goal.
Cherrie produced a sensational reaction save in the final minute of the first half as Dean Jarvis crossed from the left and Duffy's point blank header was acrobatically palmed away by the 35 year-old to keep the Lilywhites scoreless.
It was an excellent disciplined performance from the visitors as they kept Dundalk chances at a premium.
However, the champions made an explosive start to the second half and the club's all-time leading scorer, Hoban latched onto Jordan Flores neat pass and fired it into the net at the near post. Derry players were expecting an offside flag but it never came.
Dundalk upped the tempo and when Hoban found Kelly inside the box, the winger struck on the half volley and Cherrie needed two attempts to tip it over the crossbar.
Toal's header from McDonagh's corner kick was comfortably gathered by Rogers, making his 543rd League of Ireland appearance.
Dundalk struck again on 61 minutes when McEleney spread the play wide to Gannon and his cross from the right was headed downward by Hoban and beat Cherrie at the near post.
Derry hit back on 69 minutes when a long throw-in from Parkhouse was cleared to the edge of the box and Cole beat Duffy to the ball, took a touch before drilling his shot low into the bottom corner for his second of the season.
It was a great response by the Candy Stripes and there was dramatic scenes with 10 minutes to go.
McNamee's free-kick was headed narrowly wide by Toal but the referee, Robert Hennessy spotted a handball, blew his whistle, pointed to the spot and flashed a second yellow card in the direction of Hoban.
Up stepped substitute, Stokes who rolled the spotkick into the corner oft he net sending Rogers the wrong way for the equalising goal.
The fourth official signalled five additional minutes and despite a late barrage of attacks from Dundalk, Derry did superbly to clinch a fantastic point at the Co. Louth venue.
Dundalk: G. Rogers; S. Gannon, S. Hoare, D. Cleary, D. Jarvis; D. Kelly (G. Kelly 83), C. Shields, J. Flores (J. Mountney 69), M. Duffy; P. McEleney; P. Hoban; Subs Not Used - A. McCarey, B. Gartland, C. Dummigan, D. Massey, J. McKee.
Derry City: P. Cherrie; D. Cole, E. Toal, A. Gilchrist, C. Coll; J. McDonagh (A. Delap 67), C. Harkin (E. Stokes 78), G. Sloggett, J. Ogedi-Uzokwe (P. McClean 94); B. McNamee; D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, C. McDermott, G. Bruna, J. Kerr.
Referee - Robert Hennessy.