Cawley leveller fails to lift Sligo
Drogheda United 1 Sligo Rovers 1
Sligo Rovers suffered a severe blow in their bid to make a successful defence of their league title when they were held to a draw by in-form Drogheda United at Hunky Dorys Park.
It needed a second-half David Cawley strike to earn the Bit O'Red a point, but Drogheda had the better chances throughout.
Drogheda looked sharp in attack early on, but were unable to test former United Park favourite Gary Rogers in between the Sligo posts.
All that changed after 29 minutes, however, when Shane Grimes attacked down the right wing and exchanged passes with Ryan Brennan before squaring for Paul O'Conor who buried a low shot beyond the 'keeper.
Sligo made a storming start to the second period as Raffaele Cretaro (twice) and Gavin Peers went close and, on 50 minutes, they were level with Cawley's deft touch from a Daniel North cross carrying the ball in off the post.
DROGHEDA UNITED – Schlingermann; Grimes, McNally, Prendergast, Hand; Byrne; Cassidy, O'Conor, R Brennan, G Brennan; O'Brien.
SLIGO ROVERS – Rogers; Keane, Peers, Henderson, Greene; Conneely (McMillan 70), Cawley, Ndo; Djilali, North, Cretaro (Elding 86).
Ref – P Sutton (Clare).