Sligo Rovers had to settle for a point in a game they dominated for the most part at the Brandywell against Derry City as it finished 1-1.
Sander Puri was the Bit o’Red scorer early into the second half but it was almost immediate cancelled out by Derry’s Seanan Clucas.
Despite Derry going down to 10 during the second half and Rovers earning a penalty with seven minutes remaining the goal wouldn’t come to give the deserved win.
Two enforced changes were made as David Cawley suspension kept him out while a late hip problem also ruled out his midfield partner John Russell. That meant Ryan McManus came into the team for just his second ever start as well as Kevin Devaney.
After a slow opening to the game Rovers first got into the Derry box on 11 minutes, Kevin Devaney put in into the danger area from the right to Dinny Corcoran. But his first touch saw the ball just roll away and Ryan Jarvis got it cleared for a corner.
From that Corcoran got the first shot on target as he rose to head the set-piece back across goal but he didn’t have the strength behind it to cause the keeper to make a difficult save.
Two minutes later another set-piece provided an opening. The ball was swung in from the right win by Danny Ledwith and after a couple of touches it fell to Gavin Peers. He set himself up for the low piledriver but brave defending from Seamus Sharkey diving at his feet made the block.
It wasn’t until the 33rd minute that Rovers again came closing and they couldn’t have come much closer. Dinny Corcoran found his way past his man on the left of Derry’s box following a neat lay off from Eoin Wearen but his effort came off the post and went wide.
Derry had the first attempt at Richard Brush’s goal on 35 minutes, a good run into the box by striker Cillian Morrison got him the opportunity to shoot but Stephen Folan did well getting his leg in its way.
Sander Puri had the final chance of the first half on 40 minutes which again was inches away from a goal. His cut in from the right side and struck the ball sweetly towards the near post but an excellent diving save from Shaun Patton allowed him to get fingertips on it and divert wide.
Early in the second half with 51 minutes gone Puri did get a goal, his first in the SSE Airtricity League for Rovers, to give the lead. He picked up the ball just inside the Derry penalty area and calmly took the ball round the keeper and then rolled the ball into the empty net.
However the lead was short lived and the home team responded after two minutes. The ball found its way to Seanan Clucas at the edge of the box and he hit a shot that sailed high into the net beyond the reach of Brush.
A free-kick right on the edge of the box presented an opportunity for Ledwith to show his dead ball skills. He was able to get the ball over the wall but not down in time to find the net.
A heavy table from Derry’s Mark Timlin on Kevin Devaney on 67 minutes resulted in him getting a straight red card, the second time this year he has been sent off against Rovers. Devaney would leave the game to be replaced by Morten Nielsen as Rovers went with two up front.
Rovers began to dominate possession even more and put the Derry defence bet they were able to deal with some testing deliveries from Steven Beattie and Ledwith.
From a Beattie corner after 79 minutes Peers won a header at the back post but he sent it just wide of the target.
Then with eight minutes remaining a shove from Aaron Barry to the back of Corcoran led to a penalty for Rovers and a booking. After a short delay Alan Keane took the penalty but the unfortunate Keane saw his powerfully hit spot kick smash off the bar and away to safety.
The last chance came as the game entered stoppage time when a cross played into the box by Keane was headed out but as far as Puri. He struck a good volley but it just rose too high and the keeper watched it go over.
It was tough for rovers to leave with just a point gained, but for the woodwork on two occasions a winner could have been had.
Derry City: Shaun Patton; Shaun Kelly, Shane McEleney, Seamus Sharkey (Patrick McEleney HT), Aaron Barry; Mark Timlin, Seanan Clucas, Philip Lowry (Sean Houston 86), Barry McNamee, Dean Jarvis; Cillian Morrison (Ryan Curran 74).
Subs not used: Gerard Doherty, Anthony Elding, Joshua Daniels, George Kelly.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Alan Keane, Stephen Folan, Gavin Peers, Danny Ledwith; Steven Beattie, Kevin Devaney (Morten Nielsen 68), Eoin Wearen, Ryan McManus, Steven Beattie; Dinny Corcoran.
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter, Raffaele Cretaro, Gary Boylan, Keith Ward, Gary Armstrong.