Coughlan rescues a point late on

A Ronan Coughlan penalty in added-time rescued a point for Sligo Rovers against Finn Harps at the Showgrounds.

The Ballybofey men were value for their lead when Sean Boyd’s header had them in the ascendancy before the break in this scrappy north west derby.

Rovers failed to capitalise on a number of chances to turn the game in the second half, until their determination finally paid off in the first minute of added time.

Danny O’Reilly was shown a second yellow when he floored Coughlan. The latter stepping up to slot home from twelve yards.

Having picked up just two points from their opening games, it was Harps who had the better of the opening exchanges against a rusty start from the home team.

Both O’Reilly and Tony McNamee sent warning shots across the Sligo bows in the opening 20 minutes.

Sam Warde was fortunate to remain on the field when referee Ben Connolly showed him yellow for a dangerous tackle on Raff Cretaro.

Ex-Rovers winger Caolan McAleer flashed his first-time effort past Mitchell Beeney’s post before the half-hour as Harps continued to grow in confidence.

Liam Buckley’s side produced their first chance of the game with ten minutes of the first half remaining.

Ronan Murray guiding Romeo Parkes’ pass as far as Coughlan who skied his effort from the edge of the area.

Murray, who was withdrawn at half-time, was involved again five minutes later. His dinked effort slipping wide of the far post as he sought out the opposite corner.

The Donegal men’s only win this season came against the same opposition in the EA Sports Cup earlier this month.

Ollie Horgan’s charges were again enjoying the better of their neighbours and deservedly hit the lead three minutes before the break.

Rovers twice conceded possession down their left side with both Parkes and Coughlan caught lapsing.

John Kavanagh making the most of Coughlan’s mistake as his floated ball landed on the head of Boyd, who beat Dante Leverock to the ball before nodding past Beeney.

Coughlan’s set piece from 30 yards caressed the Harps crossbar on the hour, before Cawley’s quick free eventually allowed Coughlan cross for Parkes who fired wide while under scrutiny from Niall Logue.

Parkes had the ball in the Harps net on 65 minutes but the Jamaican was adjudged to have mis-timed his run by the referee’s assistant.

While Harps net minder Peter Burke pulled off a magnificent reaction save to push away Johnny Dunleavy’s header moments later.

Burke emerged the hero again on 79. Instead of squaring for a team mate, Parkes decided to try and round Burke who dived at the feet of the striker to pluck the ball from his custody.

Sligo continued to push for the equaliser and came close on 85 when Harps failed to deal with Regan Donelon’s swinging free-kick.

The ball taking a touch off one of a forest of players before emerging, only to bounce back off the foot of the post.

Sligo’s perseverance was finally rewarded when O’Reilly felled Coughlan inside the area as the Limerick native pulled the trigger inside the box.

The same man stepped up to send Burke the wrong way for his first goal for the club.

Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Johnny Dunleavy, John Mahon, Dante Leverock, Lewis Banks; Sam Warde (Kris Twardek 76); Niall Morahan (Daryl Fordyce 55), David Cawley; Ronan Murray (Regan Donelon HT); Ronan Coughlan, Romeo Parkes.

Finn Harps: Peter Burke; Sam Todd, Niall Logue, Danny O’Reilly; John Kavanagh, Mark Russell (Keith Cowan 66); Mark Coyle, Raff Cretaro (Nathan Boyle 71), Tony McNamee (Jacob Borg 83); Caolan McAleer; Sean Boyd.

Referee: Ben Connolly.