Sligo Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in The Showgrounds on Saturday evening in the Airtricity Premier Division.
John Russell gave Rovers a half-time lead, but an Ian Bermingham equaliser and Conan Byrne penalty put the visitors ahead before the home side made it 2-2 with a penalty of their own scored by Danny North.
A defence splitting pass from Jeff Henderson produced the first chance of the game after just three minutes when he sent Aaron Greene through on goal, but the in-form striker could not beat Brendan Clarke.
The opening goal came very much against the run of play after 21 minutes as former Saints’ midfielder, John Russell, was on the end of a fine move to put Rovers ahead.
Greene picked out Danny Ledwith on the left flank with a pin-point accurate ball from midfield, who crossed for Russell to break the deadlock with a simple finish.
It took 39 minutes for the first foul of the game to arrive, but this was followed by two bookings in quick succession for the visitors.
After smacking a free-kick against the wall, Conan Byrne was booked after tangling with Greene to regain possession. Minutes later, James Chambers saw yellow for a lunge on Kieran Djilali.
Despite enjoying the better start to the half, Pat’s equalised after 52 minutes when Chris Forrester found Ian Bermingham in the box who beat Gary Rogers with a low, angled shot.
Christy Fagan should have put his side 2-1 up on the hour mark when he stretched to reach a ball across the face of goal, but the striker could only find the side netting.
Paul O’Conor meanwhile should have restored Rovers lead ten minutes later when he latched onto a Danny North cross only to head over from close-range.
The visitors were awarded a penalty 15 minutes from time when Seamus Conneely was adjudged to have fouled Bermingham in the box.
Conan Byrne stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and fired Pat’s into the lead with a well-placed effort into the bottom left corner.
Less than ten minutes later, Rovers were awarded a penalty following a foul on O’Conor by Ger O’Brien.
With regular penalty taker Alan Keane forced off through injury, Danny North took responsibility to make it 2-2, shooting well out of the reach of Clarke into the top corner.
O’Conor could have clinched the three points in injury-time when he rose high to meet a cross from Eric Odhiambo, but again the midfielder could not guide his header on target.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane (Danny North 67), Jeff Henderson, Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor; David Cawley, Paul O’Conor, John Russell, Kieran Djilali (Seamus Conneely 55), Danny Ledwith (Eric Odhiambo 88); Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Richard Brush (gk), Kalen Spillane, Jake Dykes, Sean Maguire.
Booked: Russell (59), Chambers (75), E McMillan (90+4).
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Keith Fahey, James Chambers (Greg Bolger 88), Lee Lynch, Chris Forrester, Conan Byrne; Christy Fagan (Daryl Kavanagh 72).
Subs not used: Pat Jennings (gk), Conor McCormack, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Killian Brennan, Sam Verdon.
Booked: C Byrne (39), Chambers (45), Hoare (80), O'Brien (83).
Referee: Tomas Connolly
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David Cawley (Sligo Rovers).