Sligo Rovers frustrate wayward Derry City
Derry City 1 Sligo Rovers 1
For the third time this season both Derry City and Sligo Rovers couldn’t be separated, following this exciting draw.
Goals from Conor O’Grady and Thomas Stewart meant a share of the spoils again, however both managers will feel their side had enough chances to win the game.
Sligo boss Paul Cook will be disappointed with the manner in which Derry were gifted the equaliser from the penalty spot, while Stephen Kenny will feel the chances his side had, particularly in the second half, meant the Candystripes did enough for the three points.
The Derry gaffer admitted before the game that he was going to freshen things.
The Dubliner made eight changes to the side that played three games in a week, with the likes of Darren Quigley, Aaron Callaghan, Sean Hargan, Billy Dennehy, Ciaran Martyn, Ruaidhri Higgins, Thomas Stewart and Mark Farren all in the starting line-up.
Higgins was in the thick of the action as his delightful free-kick into the six yard box, found Stewart, but the ex-Linfield man’s glancing header landed on top of Richard Brush’s net.
Stewart had another chance soon after but his low drive, following good play by Gareth McGlynn, was straight at Brush.
Sligo man Martyn saw his low drive in the 28th minute flash across the six yard box and the alert McGlynn was on hand to turn the ball home, but his celebrations were caught short by the referee’s assistant’s flag and his effort was ruled out for offside. The visitors did break the deadlock four minutes later when Conor O’Grady burst past Martyn and lifted the ball over Darren Quigley.
Derry had strong claims for a penalty but referee Damian Hancock waved away their appeals, after it looked as though Danny Ventre had handled McGlynn’s shot.
Kenny introduced the much sought after Niall McGinn just before the half hour and his presence on the pitch lifted everyone.
The Derry goal came from a controversial penalty in the 71st minute when O’Grady was adjudged to have pulled down Martyn inside the area and referee Hancock pointed to the spot, from where Stewart rifled the ball high into the right hand corner.
A tremendous Stewart drive seven minutes later was superbly turned around his post by the alert Brush.
In stoppage time substitute Sammy Morrow had a close range header tipped onto the bar by Brush.
Derry City: Quigley, McCallion, Callaghan, McChrystal, Hargan; Dennehy, Martyn, Higgins, McGlynn, Stewart, Farren. Subs: McGinn for Callaghan (59); Morrow for Denney (74); McHugh for Farren (80).
Sligo Rovers: Brush, Coleman, Ventre, Peers, Almeida, O’Grady, Cash, Ryan, Creatro, Boco, Dougherty. Subs: Judge for Almeida (58); McTiernan for Cash (84); Kehough, Curren, McTiernan, Herraty.
Referee: Mr Damian Hancock (Dublin).