Daniel Cleary strikes late as Dundalk take Louth derby honours in Drogheda

Vinny Perth’s team go above rivals in the table after strong second-half showing

Drogheda United 0 Dundalk 1

Daniel Cleary’s first league goal of the season handed the Louth derby spoils to Dundalk and saw Vinny Perth’s team leapfrog rivals Drogheda United in the table.

The centre back fortuitously found himself in the right place at the right time to score an 86th-minute winner as the fourth derby of the season looked to be ending in a stalemate between two sides who needed the points available.

Both hosts Drogheda and Dundalk began the evening still not totally clear of the battle to avoid the relegation playoff. Vinny Perth, however, had his sights set on Europe with fourth place within reach and potentially offering a route into continental competition next season.

Opposition centre backs Daniel O'Reilly and Andy Boyle were denied first-half goals by referee Rob Harvey's whistle. On both occasions, the official deemed the players had pushed their opponents at the set piece.

Neither Patrick Hoban nor Seán Murray could meaningfully test David Odumosu with headers.

Will Patching's vicious long-range strike almost embarrassed the Republic of Ireland under-21 goalkeeper. It swerved wildly en route to goal, with Odumosu only able to punch the ball on to the bar. He breathed a sigh of relief when it fell straight back into his grateful arms.

Michael Duffy arrived on Boyneside having scored in six of his last seven appearances against Drogheda. He was well marshalled this time around but certainly more prominent as Dundalk dominated in the second half.

Drogheda’s rearguard was living dangerously but Dundalk’s forays forward never became a siege. Tim Clancy’s team showed occasional flashes in an attacking sense too.

However, Cleary’s late intervention won it. Duffy flicked on Murray’s free-kick and while Odumosu produced a fine save, the ball hit the defender and trickled into the net. It’s still all to play for, for both teams.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Odumosu; Redmond, O'Reilly, Massey; Brown, Deegan, Phillips, Kane; Murray (Lyons, 64); Markey (Corcoran, 87), Doyle.

DUNDALK: Cherrie; Dummigan, Cleary, Boyle, Leahy; Stanton, Patching; Kelly (Ben Amar, 90), Murray (Nattestad, 90+2), Duffy; Hoban (McMillan, 83).

Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin).