James Akintunde nets stoppage time winner against Bohemians
Bohemians 1 Derry City 2
JAMES AKINTUNDE netted a dramatic 93rd minute winning goal as unbeaten Derry City came from behind against Bohemians at Dalymount to extend their lead at the top of the table.
The Brandywell club's incredible trend of scoring late goals served them well once again as a fifth win in seven matches sent them three clear on the summit going into Monday night's trip to UCD.
Liam Burt threatened Derry's six match unbeaten start to the season with a terrific goal on 25 minutes.
Just like Derry's last trip to Dalymount, there was late, late drama as Patrick McEleney's free-kick found Akintunde who made no mistake from close range to heap more misery on troubled Bohs who have yet to win against the Candystripes in five meetings since Higgins took charge 12 months ago.
Higgins made just the one change from the team which defeated St Pat's prior to the two-week international break with Brandon Kavanagh returning to the starting line-up at the expense of eventual matchwinner Akintunde who dropped to the bench.
Danny Lafferty, an injury concern midweek, passed a late fitness test to retain his place at left wingback as the Candystripes attempted to extend their unbeaten run to 12 matches, carried over from the end of last season.
It was a lively start to the match with Bohemians the early aggressors and Brian Maher was called into action on three minutes when he needed to tip Grant Horton's 25 yard deflected strike over the crossbar.
Cameron Dummigan was penalised for what appeared like a well-timed tackle on Ali Coote but the referee awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area, centrally, just outside the Derry penalty area.
Fortunately for the visitors Tyreke Wilson's curling effort narrowly went over the crossbar with Maher scampering across his goal line.
From a Will Patching corner kick on 17 minutes, the ball fell to Kavanagh lurking just inside the penalty area and the ex-Bohs man's rasping shot on the volley sailed just over the bar.
Bohs broke the deadlock in devastating fashion following a lovely crafted move involving Coote, Promise Omochere and Burt who combined brilliantly with a triangle of passes in Derry's final third. And when Burt received a threaded pass into his path from Coote, the Scotsman made his way into the penalty area, showed composure to turn onto his right foot before slotting past the helpless Maher on 25 minutes leaving two Derry centre halves on the ground.
Bohemians were buoyed by that goal and Jordan Flores came close to adding a second but was denied by Maher before Omochere's deflected shot at the near post just missed the target moments later.
On a rare Derry attack in the opening 35 minutes,Joe Thomson crossed towards the six yard box and Ronan Boyce attempted an overhead kick which bounced the wrong side of the far post.
James Talbot needed to be at his best to deny McGonigle two minutes before the half-time interval when the Dungiven man was found by McEleney 20 yards from the Bohs goal. The Derry striker moved the ball onto his left foot and his low strike was turned behind by Talbot to maintain the Dubliner's narrow lead at the break.
Patrick McEleney, who missed Derry's last two league fixtures through injury, replaced Will Patching, at the start of the second half.
Matty Smith was introduced from the bench 10 minutes later as Higgins attempted to inject urgency into a lacklustre Derry attack as Higgins opted for an offensive 3-5-2 formation.
And that brave move reaped its rewards on 59 minutes as McJannet's inch perfect, inswinging cross from the left was met by the head of Boyce who got in front of his man and nodded it past Talbot.
It was the Ramelton man's first goal of the season, his last coming in the 1-1 draw against Bohs at Brandywell last October.
Bohs goalscorer Burt tried to hit back immediately but his low strike from 20 yards was saved comfortably by Maher.
At the other end McEleney's curling free-kick from the edge of the box was beaten away by Talbot and Lafferty's follow-up shot was charged down by Horton.
Bohs dangerman Burt found himself in on goal once again on 70 minutes but his low strike from distance was once more saved by Maher. It was a wasted opportunity for the Scotsman who had time and space to do better.
Derry almost capitalised on a mix-up in the Bohemians defence on 78 minutes as Talbot misjudged the flight of the ball which bobbled off a home defender but the keeper managed to redeem himself and fisted it off the line and out of danger.
City sub, Smith did well to keep the ball on the left side of the Bohs penalty area before turning onto his left foot and his shot was saved brilliantly by Talbot who turned it over the crossbar with five minutes left on the clock.
Talbot was again called into action moments later as he got down low to save from McGonigle's low strike at the near post.
Bohs sub, ex-Derry City striker Junior Ogedie-Uzokwe attempted an ambitious effort from a 30 yard free-kick but fired it high over the bar in front of the travelling City supporters.
And there was late drama once again when McEleney floated a free-kick into the box and it was flicked into the path of Akintunde who made no mistake to earn a precious victory.
Bohemians: J. Talbot; T. Wilson, R. Feely, C. Kelly, G.Horton; L. Burt (JJ. McKiernan 86), C. Levingston, J. Flores, A. Coote (J. Ogedi-Uzkowe 74), K. Twardek; P. Omochere (D. Devoy 74); T. Ryan, M. Murphy, S. Packham, J. Mullins, C. Byrne, N Okosun.
Derry City: B. Maher; S. McEleney, E. Toal, C. McJannet; R. Boyce, C.Dummigan, W Patching (P. McEleney h-t), J. Thomson (M. Smith 55), D. Lafferty; B.Kavanagh (J. Akintunde 80); J. McGonigle; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, C. Coll, G. Storey, E. McLaughlin, J. Malone, L. Mullan.
Referee - Adriano Reale.