A late strike from Wes Fletcher denied Sligo Rovers a creditable draw with Scottish Premier League side Motherwell at the Showgrounds on Tuesday evening.
Former Rovers boss Ian Baraclough's side took the lead early on when, with eight minutes played, Dom Thomas was picked out by Louis Moult who fired past Richard Brush for the game's opener.
The lead lasted just four minutes however as Keith Ward's superb bending free-kick from 20 yards left Motherwell goalkeeper Atkinson flat-footed as Ward's well struck effort breezed to the back of the net.
Brush did well to keep out several Motherwell efforts before half-time while Sander Puri went close for the home side just before the break.
The Bit O'Red introduced a host of substitutes at the interval. Liam Flately and Mikey Place both going close for Rovers during the second half. While Brush pulled off several great saves from Fletcher, McMannus and Moore.
With Rovers looking as if they'd secured an admirable draw against Baraclough's side, the Steelmen struck with what was the last touch of the game. Lionel Ainsworth's shot from the angle was palmed away by Brush but the Rovers rearguard could do little about Fletcher who ghosted in to tap into an empty net.
Rovers: Brush, Ledwith, Cawley, Cretaro, Puri, Boylan, Dykes, Ward, Armstrong, Nzuzi, McManus.
Subs used:Peers, Corcoran, Place, Keating, Taheny, Flately.
Motherwell: Atkinson, Law, Hammell, McMannus, Laing, Cadden, Leitch, Johnson, Thomas, Moult, Clarkson.
Subs: Twardzik, McDonald, Watt, Pearson, Chalmers, Moore, Fletcher, Ainsworth.