Derry City had to come from behind to earn a deserved point against Longford Town in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Town, who took the lead against the run of play thanks to Robert Hanley's strike, will be bitterly disappointed conceding deep into stoppage time, as James Akintunde's close-range strike deflected past goalkeeper Michael Kelly.
City, who started on the front foot, had a chance on four minutes but Eoin Toal’s header was tipped over by Town goalkeeper Kelly.
Derry continued to press for an opener and they went even closer on 14 minutes as Toal saw his towering header, which had Kelly beaten, headed off the line by Dean Zambra.
A teasing cross by Sean Elworthy just before the half-hour mark found Aaron Robinson, but his header at the back post was easily saved by Derry keeper Nathan Gartside.
Just before the break, a clever ball over the top by Patching released David Parkhouse, but the big striker’s shot on the turn from just inside the box flashed inches wide.
Derry City 1-1 Longford Town - Watch highlights of the encounter at Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium earlier this evening. pic.twitter.com/AYJSrogu04— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) May 7, 2021
Kelly had to make a big save on 46 minutes as Patching’s 25-yard stinging drive was parried away by the keeper, and Parkhouse was unable to turn home the rebound.
Derry went close again soon after when Ciaran Coll’s left wing centre found Parkhouse at the back, after getting up well the front man’s header was kept out by a diving Kelly.
City had massive claims for a penalty on 64 minutes turned down by referee Rob Harvey, who felt James Akintunde went down too easily after Michael McDonnell had challenged him inside the box.
Town took the lead against the run of play on 75 minutes as a long hopeful ball into the Derry six-yard-box fell kindly for Robert Manley and the striker turned the ball home from close range.
In the closing stages, Derry substitute Patrick Ferry saw his well hit 20-yard volley superbly kept out by a diving Kelly and Toal had another header cleared off the line.
Right at the death, the home side deservedly levelled things as Akintunde, via a deflection, scored his second in as many games, firing home from 10 yards.
Derry City: Nathan Gartside, Ronan Boyce, Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannet, Ciaran Coll; Jack Malone, Ciaron Harkin (Patrick Ferry 81), Will Patching; Will Fitzgerald (Caolan McLaughlin 76), David Parkhouse, James Akintunde.
Longford Town: Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy, Aaron Robinson (Aaron Bolger 65), Michael McDonnell, Dean Zambra, Dylan Grimes, Robert Manley, Aaron O’Driscoll, Aodh Dervin, Karl Chambers, Dean Byrne (Callum Thompson 60).
Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin).
Derry City 1-1 Longford Town - Derry City boss Ruaidhrí Higgins and his Longford Town counterpart Daire Doyle reflect on the draw. pic.twitter.com/H3Yw3G3aAl— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) May 7, 2021