An overcast evening at the Showgrounds saw Sligo Rovers and Dundalk draw 1-1 in the SSE Airtricity League with Danny North for Rovers and David McMillan for Dundalk on the scoreboard.
Darren Meenan gave the Lillywhites the first chance of the game after just three minutes but the shot sailed over the bar and Kalen Spillane answered for the home side within five minutes but his shot curled just over the Peter Cherrie’s net.
The opening ten minutes saw the ball change sides frequently with the most impressive chance coming when Eammon Zayed crossed the ball into North across the face of the Lillywhites’ goal but the Sligo striker’s shot only found the side netting.
Both sets of fans fought to make their voices heard as their teams attempted to get on the score sheet - with the home side coming up with most of the chances. But impressive defending by Sean Gannon helping to keep the game scoeless and it wasn’t until the 30 minute mark that the Bit O’Red finally found their footing.
Zayed was fouled in the box by Andy Boyle, who was immediately booked by referee Paul McLaughlin. Danny North stepped up to take the penalty and buried the ball into the back of Cherrie’s net and for the last 15 minutes of the half Rovers controlled the game.
Notable opportunities for Sligo came in the form of North, Zayed and Cawley, who all found space in the visitor’s box but were unable to convert their chances to further secure the three points on offer.
The Lillywhites however showed they were still in contention in the dying minutes of the half as Daryl Horgan rifled a shot straight at the Rovers net but Seamus Coneely’ s block kept the home side in front at half-time.
As darkness descended on the Showgrounds for the second half, play slowed down and there was an increase in yellow cards – the most controversial came as Alan Keane was booked in the 68th minute for a challenge most agreed was fair.
Both sides made cutting runs into the opposition’s defence but it wasn’t until former Rovers man David McMillan slotted the ball neatly past his former teammate Gary Rogers that the visitors found their form.
After that it was all out attack from the league leaders as they looked to secure three points - but Rovers held firm - despite the contentious decision to send off Alan Keane in the fourth minute of extra time.
So a game many thought the Lillywhites would gain three points in ended with them having to contend with a draw as both teams look to further secure their standings in the league on August 29th against Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers respectively.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan, Kalen Spillane; Sean Maguire, David Cawley, O’Conor, David North; Eamon Zayed (Ruairi Keating 90 +1).
Subs not used: Richard Brush (gk), Regan Donelon, Gary Armstrong, Ross McManus, Liam Flatley, Ross Taheny.
Booked: North (34), Cawley (51), O’Conor (53), Keane (68), Peers (85).
Sent Off: Keane (90+4)
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Sean Gannon, Andy Boyle, Brian Gartland, Dane Massey; Chris Shields (Ruaidhri Higgins 67), Richie Towell, Daryl Horgan (David McMillan 63), Darren Meenan, Kurtis Byrne (Donal McDermott 72); Patrick Hoban.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Mark Griffin, Donal McDermott, John Mountney, Mark Rossiter.
Booked: Byrne (5), Boyle (30), Hoban (71),
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Alan Keane (Sligo Rovers)