With the battle for third spot hotting up, Derry City and Bohemians couldn't be separated at the Brandywell on a night 14-year-old Evan Ferguson made his full senior debut for the Gypsies.

Ferguson featured for Bohs during the summer's pre-season friendly with Chelsea and he made another huge forward stride when he came on in the dying stages tonight in place of Luke Wade-Slater.

The scoreless draw means that Declan Devine’s side have failed to score against the Dublin team from open play this season.

Bohemians warmed up for next week’s FAI Cup semi-final Dublin derby against Shamrock Rovers, with a battling display at the Brandywell.

FULL MATCH DETAILS HERE

Derry went close on 14 minutes but Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe headed over from just inside the Bohemians box, after Ciaran Coll’s cross had picked out the Londoner.

Moments later, Bohs responded with an effort of their own but Keith Ward's dipping 20 yard free-kick failed to seriously trouble Derry goalkeeper Peter Cherrie.

A super run out from the back by Eoin Toal on 22 minutes saw the centre-back play in David Parkhouse, but the striker was denied by the alert Talbot.

On 46 minutes, Derry went close twice in quick succession as Ciaron Harkin’s close range strike was parried away by Talbot and Paddy Kirk did well to deflect away Junior’s goal-bound header, after Barry McNamee’s resulting corner had picked out the winger.

Derry had big claims for a penalty on 53 minutes but referee Paul McLaughlin felt that Malone hit the deck too easily under Ross Tierney’s challenge.

The home side threatened again on 63 minutes as Harkin released David Parkhouse, but the front-man’s left footed strike from just inside the box was flashed wide.

Bohs missed a golden chance to take the lead on 68 minutes as Andre Wright found Luke Wade Slater, but with the goal at his mercy, he blasted over.

Late on, Talbot got down well to keep out Barry McNamee’s close range strike.

Both sides pressed for the all important breakthrough, but neither really created a clear cut opening in the final quarter.

Derry City: Cherrie, McDonagh, Toal, Gilchrist, Coll; Malone (Delap 77), Sloggett (McCrudden 81), McNamee; Harkin, Parkhouse, Ogedi-Uzokwe.

Bohemians: Talbot, Lyons, Cornwall, Finnerty, Kirk; Tierney, Allardice, Grant, Wade-Slater (Ferguson 89), Ward (Devoy 64), Wright (Graydon 75).

Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).