Russell strike dents Gypsies' title hopes
Sligo Rovers 1
Ten-man Bohemians missed the chance to move to within a point of League leaders Shamrock Rovers as they had to settle for a draw at the Showgrounds last night.
The controversial 37th minute sending-off of Killian Brennan following a sideline clash with Alan Keane spurred the home side to a second half recovery, after Mark Quigley had given the visitors a 37th minute lead from a free-kick.
Midfielder John Russell got a deserved equaliser with a low finish on 57 minutes and, while a draw did neither side too many favours, it was probably a fair result on the night.
Rovers went unchanged from the team that defeated Monaghan United FAI Cup quarter-final last Saturday. Gary McCabe returned from suspension but started on the bench.
Jason McGuinness missed out for Bohemians because of injury, with Ken Oman coming into the side as the only change to the team that defeated Bray last time out.
The two teams featured attackers playing against their former clubs -- Raffaele Cretaro for Bohs and Joseph Ndo for Sligo -- and both showed an appetite for the contest, demanding possession at every opportunity.
Ndo saw more of the ball as Bohs struggled a little with the swirling wind at their backs, and the former Cameroon international almost set Doyle free with an incisive pass, but for a timely interception from Conor Powell.
But it was Cretaro that made the more telling impact, robbing possession deep in the Rovers half and winning a free off Gavin Peers on 35 minutes.
Quigley, just two minutes after forcing a save off Kelly from another free-kick, this time went low and curled the ball around the wall, under Kelly and into the corner of the net.
But Pat Fenlon's joy at taking the lead turned to anger at being reduced in numbers just two minutes later.
Brennan tangled with Keane on the sideline in front of the Rovers' dugout, and, with the full-back left holding his face after the players were separated, referee Tom Connolly saw enough to reach into his back-pocket and flash a straight red card for the winger.
A furious Fenlon reacted by introducing Paul Keegan for Byrne.
Rovers carved open a chance to equalise before the break, when Russell controlled Richie Ryan's cross in the area, but che ouldn't get his shot away as Bohs surrounded him in numbers.
The midfielder grabbed the leveller on 57 minutes, as he raced onto a crossfield pass and slid the ball past keeper Chris O'Connor with a left-foot shot.
The excellent Russell almost won it in injury-time, but his header from John Dillon's cross flashed just wide.
Meanwhile, the arrangements for the FAI Ford Cup semi-finals have been confirmed, with Bohemians set to face Sligo Rovers on Friday October 15, and Shamrock Rovers hosting St. Patrick's Athletic on Sunday October 17. Both games will be shown live on RTE television.
Sligo Rovers -- Kelly, Keane, Lauchlan, Peers, Davoren (McCabe 74), Doyle (Dillon 74), Ryan, Russell, Ndo, Boco, Blinkhorn.
Bohemians -- O'Connor, Heary, Oman, Shelley, Powell, Brennan, McGlynn, Cronin, Quigley (Greene 74), Cretaro (Rossiter 77), Byrne (Keegan 41). Ref -- T Connolly.