SLIGO ROVERS 2 DERRY CITY 2
Derry City defender Ryan McBride was hailed a hero at the Showgrounds on Friday night after the centre-back netted both goals to secure a share of the spoils against Sligo Rovers.
However, the Candystripes will be disappointed with the result given that the home side had a man sent off with 20 minutes remaining.
In what proved a ding-dong clash, all four goals were netted during the opening 45 minutes.
Sligo broke the deadlock in the 16th minute thanks to what was a spectacular strike by midfielder John Russell.
The Dubliner picked up a loose pass 35 yards from goal before he unleashed an effort at the target, the ball crashing into the top corner of the Derry net giving Gerard Doherty no chance.
That lead lasted just three minutes when Derry drew level from what proved an unlikely source.
Central defender McBride made a determined challenge for the ball following a corner and while he managed to get his head to it while challenged by Evan McMillan, the ball seemed to loop over keeper Gary Rogers before crossing the line.
Derry then stunned their hosts in the 28th minute when McBride pounced again following another corner.
Patrick McEleney floated the ball into the danger area, keeper Rogers failed to make a telling touch and when the ball broke into the path of the well placed McBride who volleyed the ball home with his left foot.
Sligo bounced back to level matters in the 33rd minute.
Derry’s Michael Duffy appeared to slip when in possession allowing Danny Ledwith to burst forward and when he turned inside Cliff Byrne, the winger produced a superb finish to make it 2-2.
Duffy had a shot saved by Rogers three mintues before the break as Derry continued to break forward when such opportunities presented themselves.
With both sides failing to take advantage of half chances in the second half, Sligo’s hopes were not helped in the 72nd minute when substitute Eric Odiambo was sent off.
The Englishman, who produced a robust challenge on Derry captain Cliff Byrne was shown a straight red card by referee Tomas Connolly.
In the 80th minute Rory Patterson had a superb chance to win it for the visitors but keeper Rogers pulled off a superb one-handed save after the Derry player burst clear.
And in the 90th minute, Barry McNamee had a magnificent chance to secure his side three points but he headed Nathan Boyle’s cross into the side netting from just seven yards when he really should have scored.
Sligo’s John Russell was presented with the final chance but he dragged his show wide of the target after Sean Maguire had set him up.
Sligo Rovers: Rogers, Conneelly, Spillane, McMillan, Gaynor; O’Connor (Odiambo, 68), Cawley, Russell, Ledwith, Cretaro; North (Maguire, 84).
Derry City: Doherty; Ventre, McBride, Byrne, Barry; McNamee, Molloy; Duffy, P. McEleney, Timlin (Curran, 72); Patterson (Boyle, 86).
Referee: T. Connolly (Dublin).