It was the late, late show at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium as Derry City and Dundalk couldn't be separated in an absorbing 2-2 draw.
Dundalk came from behind thanks to second-half goals from Georgie Kelly and Pat Hoban, after David Parkhouse’s opener had given Derry the lead, but Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe’s stoppage time header earned the home side a point.
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Debutant Andy Boyle went close to marking his Dundalk return with a goal on four minutes, but the centre-back’s header was saved by Peter Cherrie, after Michael Duffy’s corner had picked him out.
City should have done better on 22 minutes as another man making his debut, Darren McCauley, saw his left-wing cut-back find Parkhouse, but the big striker fluffed his lines from close range and Ogedi-Uzokwe was unable to bundle home the loose ball.
Derry took the lead on 42 minutes after Ogedi-Uzokwe nipped in to win possession from Chris Shields inside the box and Parkhouse was on hand to fire home his ninth goal of the season.
Dundalk had a goal ruled out for offside as Duffy’s header, which caught out Cherrie, was rightly chalked off.
The champions levelled things on 57 minutes when Sloggett lost possession to Shields who cut the ball back to Kelly, and he made no mistake when blasting home from close range.
Dundalk were inches away from adding a second on 71 minutes as John Mountney’s right wing cross found substitute Pat Hoban, the striker’s glancing header flying just over.
Soon after Cherrie had to make a fingertip save to deny Jamie McGrath, after the former St Pat’s man latched onto Sean Gannon’s right-wing cross.
The league leaders thought they had won it on 90 minutes as Duffy’s right-wing corner picked out an unmarked Hoban, whose powerful diving header from four yards gave Cherrie no chance.
Right at the death Jamie McDonagh’s corner was excellently headed home by Ogedi-Uzokwe, to spark wild celebrations among the home faithful.
Derry City: Cherrie, McDonagh, Toal, Gilchrist, Coll; Harkin, Sloggett, McNamee (Bruna 82); Ogedi-Uzokwe, Parkhouse (Davis 72), McCauley (Cole 65).
Dundalk: Rogers, Gannon, Boyle, Cleary, Jarvis; Benson (McGrath 68), Shields, McEleney; Mountney (Kelly 78), Kelly (Hoban 68), Duffy.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Dublin).