Cork City secured a massive three points by producing a backs-to-the-wall display at Derry City that earned them a 1-0 victory and kept them in second place in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

John O'Flynn's first half goal was enough for the Munster men to claim a vital victory that keeps them in the league chase.

The result keeps the Rebels just four points behind leaders Dundalk as the title race appears to down to two teams.

Cork got off to the perfect start as they broke the deadlock in the 13 minute after some clinical finishing by John O'Flynn.

Josh O'Shea broke clear down the left before delivering a teasing low cross into the six yard box and the quick thinking O'Flynn got in front of Cliff Byrne and made no mistake firing home past Gerard Doherty.

Doherty came to his side's rescue again on 20 minutes this time after a defensive slip by Dean Jarvis let in O'Flynn, but the striker's low drive from a tight angle had to be kept out by the Derry net-minder.

A minute later Derry had a glorious chance to level things but Philip Lowry's close range strike, which had Cork keeper Mark McNulty beaten, was booted off the line by Brian Lenihan.

Another flowing move by the home side ended with Dean Jarvis' low drive from the left hand side of box being well kept out by McNulty.

Set-pieces were causing problems for the Brandywell men but Dan Murray's header was saved by Doherty.

The Rebel Army should have doubled their lead on 56 minutes when Ross Gaynor's right wing free-kick found Darren Dennehy, but the big centre-back's diving header, which had Doherty beaten, clipped the post.

Soon after a defensive splitting pass by Patrick McEleney found an unmarked Kelly at the back post, but the right back's big chance of marking his debut with a goal didn't happen as he dragged his shot into the side netting.

A stunning save by McNulty denied Derry again on 75 minutes, this time the goalkeeper was a full stretch to tip over McEleney's long range free-kick.

The woodwork came to Cork's rescue in the closing stages as substitute Mark Timlin saw his cross-cum-shot catch out McNulty, but fortunately for the keeper the ball hit the crossbar.

Derry City: Doherty, Kelly (Boyle 71), Byrne, Barry, Jarvis (Timlin 77); McNamee, Ventre (Curran 87); Dooley, Lowry, Duffy; P McEleney.

Cork City: McNulty, Lenihan, Murray, Dennehy, Gaynor; O'Flynn (Kavanagh H-T), Dunleavy, G Morrissey, O'Shea (McSweeney 77); Kearney (D Morrissey 63), O'Sullivan.

Referee: Mr Derek Tomney (Dublin).