McLaughlin heroics stun Sligo
Derry City 3 Sligo Rovers 3
(Derry win 5-3 on penalties)
WINGER Stephen McLaughlin was Derry City's hero last night as he helped himself to a brace of goals before despatching the winning penalty in the shoot-out to knock out holders Sligo Rovers.
Goalkeeper Eugene Ferry also played a starring role as he made a host of saves during the 120 minutes and also kept out Richie Ryan's crucial spot-kick in the shoot-out.
Derry took the lead against the run of play on 33 minutes when Ruairi Harkin's free-kick was headed on by David McDaid and Daniel Lafferty ghosted in at the far post to head home his seventh goal of the campaign.
In stoppage-time in the first half Sligo deservedly levelled when Danny Ventre's shot from the edge of the box caught out Ferry and found the bottom corner.
The home side regained the lead on 76 minutes when McDaid played in Harkin and his right-wing cross found McLaughlin, who had just moved up front, and he rose well to head home at the near post.
It only took Rovers four minutes to equalise again when Aaron Greene's teasing cross found Eoin Doyle and he chested the ball down before firing home.
Right at the death Lafferty was shown a straight red card for bringing down Ventre on the edge of the box.
In extra-time the 10 men regained the lead for a third time when McLaughlin picked up possession from Owen Morrison, before cutting inside past Conor Powell and spectaularly curling the ball into the top corner.
But Sligo levelled for a third time on 108 minutes, Doyle heading in after substitute Joseph N'do had picked him out with a fine centre.
Then it was down to McLaughlin and Ferry in the shoot-out.
Derry City -- Ferry, S McEleney (McCallion 78), McBride, Friars, Lafferty; McLaughlin, Higgins, Henry (Molloy 71), McCrudden (Morrison 52); Harkin, McDaid.
Sligo Rovers -- Clarke, Creatro, Peers, McGuinness, Powell; Ryan, Ventre (Kirby 104); Russell (Dillon 98); Greene (Ndo 84), Blinkhorn, Doyle.
Ref -- R Winter (Wicklow).