A superb performance from Longford Town goalkeeper Paul Hunt helped Tony Cousins' men frustrate Dundalk as they played out an entertaining scoreless draw at Oriel Park.
The stopper was called into action to make a series of superb saves throughout - especially in the last 10 minutes - as Dundalk could not find a way through despite the first half sending off of Town captain Mark Salmon.
David McMillan flashed a shot wide early on as Dundalk looked to build on good early pressure before Ronan Finn met Dane Massey's cross but he could not direct it on target.
Longford had a chance of their own when ex-Lilywhite man Lorcan Shannon shot wide after good work from Gary Shaw and Aymen Ben Mohamed. Three minutes before the break, referee Tomas Connolly gave Salmon a straight red card after a hefty challenge on McMillan. It seemed a harsh decision and most in the stadium thought so, applauding the unfortunate Salmon as he made his way off the pitch.
In the second half, Longford defended deep but Dundalk toiled for the most part. It wasn't until the game's final stages that a breakthrough looked likely but Hunt had other ideas.
The Longford keeper twice saved from substitute Sean Maguire and also denied Richie Towell before the home side's best chance of the night. Totally unmarked from a corner, Brian Gartland could only direct his header straight into Hunt's grateful arms.
The draw means Dundalk are now seven points ahead of nearest challengers Cork City, but the Leesiders can close the gap with a win against Sligo on Saturday. Longford stay sixth in the table.