Sligo Rovers and Derry City enter the mid-season on the back of an entertaining 2-2 draw at The Showgrounds on Friday evening.
John Russell gave the home side a 16th minute lead with a superb strike, but it would be short lived as two goals in quick succession from Ryan McBride completed a turnaround for Derry. Danny Ledwith levelled things up with just over ten minutes to go until half-time, but their hopes of clinching a winner were hindered in the second-half when Eric Odhiambo was shown a straight red with 20 minutes remaining.
Patrick McEleney created the first opportunity of the game when he twisted and turned on the edge of the box before eventually shooting straight at Gary Rogers.
Rovers came close from two of four corners in the space of a couple of minutes. Evan McMillan first head over a delivery from Danny Ledwith before Kalen Spillane nodded a ball into the path of McMillan again only this time be denied by a Barry Molloy clearance off the line.
The deadlock was broken just three minutes later when John Russell claimed possession in midfield and ran at the Derry defence before unleashing a wonderful strike into the top left corner from 35 yards. This goal advantage would last a mere four minutes as a poorly cleared corner came to Ryan McBride who managed to beat Rogers with a looping header.
Eight minutes later, another McEleney corner was poorly dealt with and McBride was on hand again to score, this time squeezing a low shot through a host of bodies to put The Candystripes in front. 11 minutes from the break, it was all square again as Danny North crossed the ball for Ledwith, who created space for himself in the box before drilling a low, powerful strike past Ger Doherty. Michael Duffy had the final chance of the half on the stroke of half-time, but his low shot was well saved by Rogers.
Derry began the second-half brightly, Duffy first causing problems with his 47th minute effort being blocked by Seamus Conneely before Michael Timlin forced Rogers into action as the Rovers netminder pushed the midfielder's shot wide of the target. Eric Odhiambo was brought on for Paul O'Conor after 66 minutes, but his game would only last four minutes when he was shown a red card for a reckless challenge.
Rory Patterson found himself with time and space on the edge of the box with eight minutes remaining, but the clinical striker would not get on the score sheet on this occasion when he was denied by an excellent save.
Nathan Boyle made an immediate impression for the visitors after being brought on when he broke away on the counter-attack and squared a ball for Barry McNamee who failed to find the target with a diving header at the far post.
In the final minute of stoppage time, Russell almost snatched the three points. After being picked out by Sean Maguire, the midfielder ran past McBride before shooting agonisingly wide of goal from a tight angle.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Seamus Conneely, Evan McMillan, Kalen Spillane, Ross Gaynor; David Cawley, Paul O'Conor (Eric Odhiambo, '66), John Russell, Raffaele Cretaro, Danny Ledwith; Danny North (Sean Maguire, '85).
Subs not used: Richard Brush (gk).
Booked: E McMillan (64), North (72).
Sent Off: Odhiambo (72).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Danny Ventre, Ryan McBride, Cliff Byrne, Aaron Barry; Barry Molloy, Barry McNamee, Michael Timlin (Ryan Curran, '69), Michael Duffy, Patrick McEleney; Rory Patterson (Nathan Boyle, '87).
Subs not used: Ciaran Gallagher (gk), Shane McEleney, Dean Jervis, Joshua Tracey, Tony McNamee.
Booked: Ventre (36), Patterson (58).
Referee: Tomas Connolly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Michael Duffy (Derry City).