Dundalk extended their lead to six-points at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division with a superb 5-0 victory over Derry City at the Brandywell on Friday night.
David McMillan’s wonderful hat-trick was added to by Dane Massey and Daryl Horgan as Stephen Kenny’s three-in-a-row chasing side pummelled their beleaguered hosts for large parts of the match.
The game was effectively ended as a contest 28 minutes in when Derry had their ‘skipper Ryan McBride dismissed for what referee Paul McLaughlin deemed to be a professional foul, by that point though the Lilywhites were in control, leading the affair 2-0.
The visitors began the match on the front foot and they went ahead in the fifth minute through hotshot, McMillan. Dundalk forced a corner and from the delivery Brian Gartland nodded the ball goalwards for McMillan to prod home past the helpless Ger Doherty.
The Lilywhites began the match at a frightening tempo and Horgan almost added a second moments later when played through smartly by Stephen O’Donnell. Ryan McBride came to the rescue for Kenny Shiels’ men though as he cleared emphatically to safety.
The Candystripes grew in confidence though approaching the quarter-hour mark as they began settling themselves into proceedings. Conor McCormack and Harry Monaghan started taking a foothold of the play and dictating the attacking efforts of the hosts.
Aaron McEneff and Rory Patterson profited from their play, both having shots, with Patterson’s forcing Gary Rogers into producing a breath-taking tip over save when the ball seemed destined to ripple the net.
Even though Derry appeared to be mounting a challenge for an equaliser, the champions hit them ruthlessly with a second goal thanks to Dane Massey’s delicate headed finish.
The left-back, having recovered from injury met a tangibly enticing free-kick from former Derry favourite Patrick McEleney to force the Lilywhites and their travelling contingent into raptures.
The match was effectively ended as a contest moment later when Derry captain, McBride was dismissed on a straight red-card for taking down the marauding Stephen O’Donnell as the Dundalk ‘skipper drove towards goal. The referee showed no hesitation in sending McBride off, disregarding the pleas from the Derry centre-half.
The match was monopolised by Dundalk and their midfield trio for the remaining hour of the game, David McMillan was being serviced excellently by Ronan Finn, O’Donnell and McEleney on every occasion that an opportunity presented itself, and the visitors had a myriad of chances especially in the second period.
McMillan made it 3-0 before the interval with another deadly finish. Sean Gannon found space down the flank and played an inviting ball across for McMillan, and the striker latched gracefully onto it, before guiding it past a stranded Doherty.
Derry battled though and Rogers had to prevent the home side from opening their account on either side of half-time. Before the break, Barry McNamee showed his dribbling ability, evading four defenders and shooting at Rogers. After the interval, Patterson was again snuffed out by the Dundalk net-minder.
Dundalk assumed complete control from that point onwards, using their technical supremacy to exploit their extra-man advantage. Their third goal can be perfectly summed up by the term ‘sexy football.’ Good one touch play by Dundalk on the edge of the box, McEleney and Finn being involved with their movement saw the ball transferred to McMillan cutting in from the left, his shot was allowed to squirm away by Doherty and straight to Horgan who opened his evening’s account, 4-0.
McMillan had a grand total of four more shots in anger at Doherty before the Lilywhites extended their advantage. Dundalk’s entire midfield five must receive plaudits for their role in being able to set-up the lethal Lilywhite number nine repeatedly.
The Dubliner did complete his outstanding hat-trick moments later though. More splendid interchange play between John Mountney and the symbiotic pairing of Finn and McEleney saw the ball given to McMillan with his back to goal.
The striker turned on an instance and unleashed a wicked pile driver high into the top left corner past Doherty, who threw his labouring right-hand at it while the ball flew past.
McMillan could even have extended his tally heading towards stoppage time. The striker, playing a rare ninety minutes shot inches past the post following great footwork which bamboozled Aaron Barry.
Derry were put out of their misery soon after, Dundalk running out ultra-impressive 5-0 winners, equalling the Foylesiders biggest ever home league defeat in the process, and their heaviest since joining the League of Ireland.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Niclas Vemmelund, Ryan McBride (C), Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis (Patrick McClean 65); Conor McCormack, Harry Monaghan (Nathan Boyle 46), Aaron McEneff; Lukas Schubert (Conor McDermott 39), Barry McNamee; Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: Josh Daniels, Ronan Curtis, Rory Holden, Mark McElhinney (GK).
Booked: Vemmelund (8).
Sent off: R McBride (28).
Dundalk FC: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland (Paddy Barrett 79), Andy Boyle, Dane Massey (Shane Grimes 66); Ronan Finn, Stephen O’Donnell; John Mountney, Patrick McEleney, Daryl Horgan (Darren Meenan 70); David McMillan.
Subs not used: Robbie Benson, Ciaran O’Connor, Michael O’Connor, Gabriel Sava (GK).
Booked: McMillan (76).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Attendance: 1,500 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David McMillan (Dundalk FC).