The All Star forward fisted in after getting on the end of Enda Lynn's lofted effort from the left which was drifting off target.
Eoin Bradley's point from play gave Derry that four-point cushion but, remarkably, they failed to score for the next 26 minutes and dominant Monaghan got five unanswered points to lead 0-6 to 1-2.
Derry would have been further behind if Monaghan had been more accurate as the Farney men were guilty of eight first-half wide.
Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney says that they rue a multitude of missed chances in the defeat by Derry.
Paddy Bradley ended the Oak Leafers' barren spell by landing a free in first-half stoppage-time to leave the sides level at the interval.
With 12 minutes to go the sides were still locked - 1-7 to 0-10.
Paddy Bradley, Eoin Bradley, Barry McGoldrick and James Kielt all scored from play for Derry with Paul Finlay (two frees), Thomas Freeman and Rory Woods on target for Monaghan.
Derry then had their skipper Fergal Doherty sent-off for charging into Gary McQuaid when play had stopped.
Doherty, already booked in the first half, was shown a second yellow card by referee Jimmy White.
Another fine long-range point from Kielt edged the home side ahead again and then Joe Diver made it a two-point gap.
Derry: B Gillis; K McGuckin, K McCloy, G O'Kane, C McCaigue (0-01), B McGoldrick (0-01), SL McGoldrick, F Doherty, J Diver (0-01), B McGuigan, P Murphy, E Lynn, E Bradley (0-02), P Bradley (1-03, 0-01f), J Kielt (0-02). Substitutes: M Lynch for Murphy (40), B Mullan for Lynn (53).
Monaghan: P McBennett; D Mone, V Corey, D McArdle; D Freeman, G McQuaid, D Hughes; E Lennon, D Clerkin, C McManus; P Finlay (0-03, 3f), S Gollogly (0-01), R Ronaghan (0-02), R Woods (0-01), T Freeman (0-03, 1f). Substitutes: M Downey for Ronaghan (45), C Hanratty for Lennon (46), P McGuigan for Woods (65).
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