Pat Hoban strikes winner for Dundalk as Derry City slump to home defeat

Derry City 1 Dundalk 2

By Simon Collins
Saturday, 21st May 2022, 12:05 am
James Akintunde found the net for Derry but it wasn't enough as Dundalk struck late through Pat Hoban.
James Akintunde found the net for Derry but it wasn't enough as Dundalk struck late through Pat Hoban.

PAT HOBAN clinched a late winner at Brandywell for Dundalk who closed the gap on second placed Derry City to four points.

It was the Lilywhites' first win of the season on the road as Derry slipped seven points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers.

Robbie Benson gave the visitors a deserved lead on 10 minutes with a brilliant strike from distance.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

Derry City's Will Patching prepares to set Matty Smith free down the line during the top of the table clash with Dundalk at Brandywell. Photo by Kevin Moore.

City substitute James Akintunde headed in the equaliser just eight minutes after coming off the bench in the second half from Will Patching's free-kick.

Derry appeared most likely to net a winner but Hoban broke the hearts of the home support when firing clinically into the bottom corner with eight minutes remaining after sub John Martin slipped him through on goal.

Dundalk boss Stephen O'Donnell was shown red by referee Rob Harvey for his celebrations after the goal which incensed the Brandywell support.

Patching rattled the woodwork with a freekick in the fourth minute of stoppage time but Derry ultimately fell to a third defeat of the season.

Members of Derry City's 1997 Premier Division title winning team are presented to the Brandywell attendance during half-time. Photo by Kevin Moore.

With just two points to show from their last four league matches, Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins will be grateful for the quick turnaround in fixtures as they travel to Sligo on Monday night.

Derry players wore black armbands in memory of lifelong City supporter and influential club volunteer Edgar McCormack who was laid to rest on Friday morning as the attendance paid their respects with a minute's applause before kick-off.

There was just one change for Derry from the team which lost narrowly to Shamrock Rovers last weekend with Cameron McJannet returning from injury to replace Danny Lafferty.

Dundalk manager, Stephen O'Donnell also made the single change to the team which won against Bohemians with Paul Doyle coming in for Joe Adams.

Derry City players take part in a minute's applause for lifelong club volunteer and supporter Edgar McCormack who sadly was laid to rest on Friday morning.

Shamrock Rovers' comprehensive victory over UCD on Thursday night increased the pressure on Derry who were on a three game winless run which saw them slip seven points behind the leaders.

That pressure intensified as third placed Dundalk made a blistering start to this top of the table clash on Foyleside.

Dundalk were the dominant team in the opening stages and when Sam Bone played the ball into the feet of Benson on 10 minutes, the midfielder turned his man and bent the ball into the bottom corner with a clinical left footed strike.

The visitors were putting their hosts under pressure from the off playing with a high press and deserved their early lead.

Derry responded well and when Jamie McGonigle crossed from the right wing Joe Thomson's close range volley was turned behind comfortably by Nathan Shepperd on 16 minutes.

From the resultant corner Ronan Boyce rose highest but his header went harmlessly over the bar.

Ex-Dundalk midfielder Patching picked up a loose ball and worked his way into the penalty area before trying to find the far corner with a curling strike which went over the bar.

Stephen Bradley came close to doubling Dundalk's lead on 33 minutes but fired over the crossbar moments before Thomson's acrobatic overhead kick from 12 yards was saved by Shepperd at the other end.

Brian Maher made a smart save at his near post to deny Benson from range after the goalscorer neatly turned his man from a throw-in.

It was a frenetic finish to the half as Derry pressed for an equaliser and Darragh Leahy needed to make a vital clearance from Patching's cross into a crowded penalty area but the home side went into the interval trailing by that solitary goal.

Derry's 1997 league title winning team were presented to the attendance at half-time to mark 25 years since Felix Healy's side finished top of the pile.

Ruaidhri Higgins' needed the memories of that last championship victory for the Candy Stripes to evoke a second half comeback needed to keep intact their own title aspirations.

Derry enjoyed plenty of possession but couldn't find that killer pass in the final third. Patching dragged his shot wide of the target from distance as the home side's frustrations began to simmer to the surface.

Toal, making his 150th appearance for City sent a towering header over the bar from Patching's corner on 70 minutes.

Derry substitute Akintunde won a free-kick in a promising position on the edge of the penalty area after Leahy impeded him as he made his way towards goal.

Patching's inch perfect delivery into the six yard box was met by the head of Akintunde who headed into the net for his third goal of the season with 15 minutes to go.

The goal reenergise the home support and Derry were pushing for a winner and looked the most likely side with Dundalk on the ropes.

However, Derry were caught in possession just outside their own box and when the ball was played into the stride of Hoban he expertly found the far corner of the net with eight minutes left on the clock.

That goal sparked wild celebrations among the Dundalk bench and when O'Donnell turned to goad the Brandywell support, match referee Rob Harvey flashed a second yellow card to the Dundalk boss.

There was a long delay as O'Donnell was escorted from the stands and down the tunnel as the home support were up in arms.

Six minutes of added time was signalled by the fourth official and McJannet was fouled 30 yards from the Dundalk goal to give Derry a chance at goal.

Patching stepped up but his curling strike was saved comfortably by Shepperd.

Patching had another chance to find his range from a free-kick when he was fouled by Bradley in the fourth minute of stoppage time but this time he rattled the crossbar.

Derry City: B. Maher: S. McEleney, E. Toal, C. McJannet; R. Boyce (J. Akintunde 67), C. Dummigan, W. Patching, B. Kavanagh, J. Thomson, M. Smith; J. McGonigle; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, C. Coll, G. Storey, D. Lafferty, E. McLaughlin, J. Malone, C. Porter, L. Mullan.

Dundalk: N. Shepperd; L. Macari, M. Connolly, S. Bone, D. Leahy; S Bradley, P. Doyle (J. Martin 78), G. Sloggett, D. Kelly (K. Ward 58); R. Benson, P. Hoban (D. McMillan 89): Subs Not Used - P. Cherrie, J. Adams, J. Mountney, M. Animasahun, M. Hanratty, R. O'Kane.

Referee - Rob Harvey (Dublin).