Eoin Toal’s first goal of the season bagged Derry City a share of the spoils against Dundalk in the meeting of the two form sides in the country at Oriel Park.

The hosts started brightly and made the breakthrough in the eighth minute when John Mountney’s cross fell Kindly for Robbie Benson who arrived right on cue to hook home.

Stephen Kenny’s side continued to pose all of the questions and Ger Doherty denied Patrick Hoban in the 14th minute after the Lilywhites striker broke clear on the inside right channel.

The Derry captain kept his side in the game with another good stop just shy of the half hour. Dane Massey's cross skipped off Hoban and landed perfectly for Mountney but Doherty was there to close the angle and keep the header out.

A stop-start couple of minutes followed and the visitors - who had to contend with the loss of key strikers Rory Patterson and Ronan Hale - drew level against the run of play with four minutes remaining in the half. 

Aaron McEneff was bundled over in the box by Dan Cleary and the midfielder became the first player to beat Gary Rogers this season by converting from the spot.

It looked like that would send the teams in level at the break but Dundalk edged back in front with 45 minutes played when Sean Gannon's cross caught Darren Cole napping at the back post and Michael Duffy was there to profit against his hometown club.

The second half was less than two minutes old when Toal bundled home the equaliser after Gary Rogers could only push a Ronan Curtis header away.

Dundalk went agonisingly close to hitting the front for a third time when Mountney saw a close-range effort trickle just wide.

Both managers turned to their bench in a bid to win the game and Duffy almost brought the house down in the 81st minute with a curler from the left that drifted the wrong side of the upright.

Gavin Peers was given his marching orders with three minutes to play for a second bookable offence and although Dundalk tried to force it, the visitors held firm to take a well-earned point back to Foyleside.

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Dan Cleary, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Robbie Benson, Stephen O'Donnell (Chris Shields 77); John Mountney (Dylan Connolly 71), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Marco Tagbajumi 78).

DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty; Darren Cole, Eoin Toal, Gavin Peers, Jack Doyle; Jamie McDonagh, Rory Hale, Aaron McEneff, Nicky Low, Ronan Curtis, John Cofie (Nathan Boyle 72).

REFEREE: Ben Connolly.