Ayunga rescues point for Lyttle
Drogheda 1 Sligo Rovers 1
GERARD Lyttle’s Sligo Rovers picked up a hard-earned point in his first game in charge as Drogheda failed to make the most of their dominance.
In a lively opening quarter the first two chances fell to Sligo as Raffaele Cretaro’s powerful shot was held by Stephen McGuinness and Liam Martin curled wide at the end of a swift counter-attack.
However, it was Drogheda who went closest to scoring in the 18th minute when Adam Wixted’s effort was tipped round the post at full stretch by Micheal Schlingermann.
On 22 minutes, though, Schlingermann was beaten by a moment of brilliance as Drogheda’s Gareth McCaffrey turned away from two defenders and rifled a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner of the Sligo net.
The hosts almost doubled their lead immediately as they won a free kick 30 yards out and McCaffrey’s piledriver was pushed away by Schlingermann.
Sean Thornton shot narrowly wide as Drogheda continued to look dangerous, but Sligo should have levelled on 38 minutes from the penalty spot when Jonah Ayunga was tripped by Shane Elworthy just inside the box, only for McGuinness to keep out Kieran Sadlier’s spot-kick.
The Bit O’Red kept pressing and got their reward on 41 minutes when Sadlier’s corner was headed home by the unmarked Ayunga.
Chances in the second half were harder to come by, but Schlingermann was called into action again on 57 minutes to push a Stephen Elliott effort round the post, before Ayunga almost turned in Liam Martin’s left-wing cross for Sligo.
Drogheda boss Pete Mahon rang the changes and sub Killian Brennan had a chance to win it on 80 minutes on his return from injury but sliced his shot wide.
DROGHEDA – McGuinness; Elworthy, Gallagher, McGuigan, Kane; Wixted (Doyle 85), Thornton, Purdy, G Brennan; McCaffrey (K Brennan 76), Elliott (Griffin 73).
SLIGO – Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, McFadden, Leahy (Kearns 38, Place 90+3), Donelon; Sadlier, Roddan, Boylan, Martin; Cretaro, Ayunga.
Ref – R Matthews (Longford)