Dundalk miss chance to move ten points clear at top of Premier Division
Dundalk 2 Sligo Rovers 2
Dundalk missed the opportunity to move ten points clear at the top of the Premier Division table as an improved Sligo Rovers twice came from behind to grab a valuable draw to aid their battle against relegation.
Cork’s scoreless encounter in Bray earlier in the day had presented the defending champions with an opportunity to strengthen their grip on the crown but they were below their best in a scattered affair and remain eight clear at the summit with six points remaining.
The appointment of Micky Adams has steadied the Rovers ship and they are unbeaten in five games. However, they are just two points off the bottom thanks to a stunning resurgence from Limerick who scored a remarkable victory over St Patrick’s Athletic earlier in the day after playing the majority of that match with 10 men.
Adams, who will bring his side back to this venue for an FAI Cup quarter final next Friday, still has work to do to steer clear of danger. But, on this evidence, they are heading in the right track.
Earlier in the campaign, heads might have dropped when Dundalk went ahead just after the quarter hour mark when Tim Clancy got in a muddle at the edge of the box and Ronan Finn pounced to find the target with a clinical right footer.
Ciaran Kilduff, who posed quite a few problems for the visiting rearguard, might have doubled the lead with an acrobatic effort that struck the crossbar
Rovers responded to the challenge, though, and enjoyed reasonable spells of possession that created a couple of chances before the interval with dangerous newcomer Jennison Myrie-Williams sending in a cross that was fired over by Dinny Corcoran and then Jason Hughes inexplicably botching an attempted loft to the far post when he had enough time to line up a shot.
Dundalk didn’t heed the warning and conceded a comical goal three minutes into the second half when a Myrie-Williams free kick curled through a maze of bodies in the area with Corcoran appearing to get the final touch ahead of Brian Gartland in a messy scramble although the sheepish nature of his celebrations told their own story.
The Oriel Park patrons were edgy as the Bit’O’Red continued to apply pressure but a quality intervention from Finn dramatically changed the mood. Collecting the ball 30 yards from goal, he stepped away from David Cawley and unleashed a thunderbolt that gave Richard Brush no chance.
But Sligo refused to roll over and their endeavour yielded a leveller as right full Alan Keane collected the leftovers of a corner and let rip with a speculative attempt that Rogers got a hand to but could not keep out.
Dundalk have an impressive record from set pieces and forced a series of corners as they went in search of the winner. However, Sligo stood firm to get their bodies in the way and secure a deserved result, with Brush making a fine stop at the death after Richie Towell finally found the space to strike at goal.
Dundalk: Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Shields, Towell; Meenan, Finn, Horgan (O’Donnell 66; Mountney 86); Kilduff (McMillan 80)
Sligo Rovers: Brush, Keane, Peers, Clancy, Donelon; Cawley, Boylan; Nielsen (Cretaro 69), Hughes (Elding 69), Myrie-Williams; Corcoran (Keating 75)
Referee: P Tuite (Dublin)