Rovers draw with Derry in north west derby
by David Goulden at the Showgrounds
Sligo Rovers 1-1 Derry City
Sligo Rovers' wait for a first SSE Airtricity League Premier Division win of the season continued on Saturday evening as they drew 1-1 with ten man Derry City at the Showgrounds.
Both goals came within the first ten minutes as Philip Lowry opened the scoring with seven played. But City's lead only lasted three minutes as Eoin Wearen headed home a Steven Beattie cross with ten minutes elapsed.
Derry finished the game without their full complement as Mark Timlin was dismissed on 90 minutes following his second booking of the evening.
Sligo boss Owen Heary made two changes from the side beaten by Drogheda last week. Keith Ward and league debutant Wearen replacing Raffaele Cretaro and the absent John Russell. Derry handed a debut to Seanan Clucas in place of Ryan Curran while Dean Jarvis was a late change in place of captain Ryan McBride as Peter Hutton also made two switches from last week's team which lost out to champions Dundalk.
The Bit O'Red were going in search of their first league win and were inches away from taking the lead with four minutes played in what was a whirlwind start to the game. Keith Ward's in-swinging corner was headed towards goal by Gavin Peers but City's Shaun Kelly was on hand to sweep the ball off the line.
But Derry took the lead with their first attack on seven minutes. Danny Ledwith failed to clear his lines at the edge of the box as Lowry saw his shot take a touch of Rovers goalkeeper Ryan Coulter before looping into the net.
Sligo pegged back last year's FAI Cup finalists just three minutes later. Steven Beattie found room for himself on the Rovers right before Wearen latched on to the end of his well placed cross to powerfully head the ball between Ger Doherty and his front post.
Doherty was called into action once more on 21 minutes as he did enough to get behind Ward's bending free-kick. He denied the former Dundalk midfielder once more on 24 when he did well to get down and push Ward's low effort around his near post.
Patrick McEleney shot narrowly wide on 37 and was unlucky once more on 41 as some trickery on the ball opened up space for a speculative shot which whistled past Coulter's post. City's Aaron Barry then cleared Dinny Corcoran's goal bound drive off Doherty's line at the opposite end.
Doherty denied Rovers once more as he got behind Wearen's shot from the angle ten minutes into a second period which failed to live up to the pace and excitement of its predecessor. Patrick McEleney's curling shot from the edge of the area never worried Coulter on the hour mark.
Hutton introduced both Anthony Elding and Cillian Morrison midway through the second half as the Foylesiders added strength to their under-performing attack, but the move never paid off.
Rovers winger Kevin Devaney was booked for diving inside the Derry box with 12 minutes remaining as the game remained delicately poised at a goal a piece.
But a winner was never to come. Devaney was however involved again on 87 as he skilfully dragged the ball past Shane McEleney but the Sligo native could only send his effort into Doherty's side netting.
Derry were reduced to ten men on 90 minutes when Timlin was sent off for a second bookable offence as he took the feet from under Beattie.
Sligo Rovers: Ryan Coulter; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Stephen Folan, Danny Ledwith; Steven Beattie, David Cawley, Eoin Wearen, Keith Ward (for Raffaele Cretaro 73), Kevin Devaney; Dinny Corcoran (for Morten Nielsen 75).
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Gary Boylan, Jake Dykes, Sander Puri, Ryan McManus.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Shaun Kelly, Dean Jarvis (for Cillian Morrison 68), Shane McEleney, Aaron Barry; Philip Lowry, Barry McNamee, Sean Houston (for Anthony Elding 62), Seanan Clucas, Mark Timlin; Patrick McEleney.
Subs not used: Shaun Patton, Josh Daniels, Ryan Curran, Seamus Sharkey.
Referee: Dave McKeon (Dublin)