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Sligo Rovers rescue draw against fellow strugglers Drogheda

Rhys McCabe’s first goal for the club handed them a 1-1 draw.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Sligo Rovers 1

Drogheda United 1

Jessica Farry reports from the Showgrounds

RHYS McCABE’S FIRST goal for Sligo Rovers rescued a draw for the Bit O’Red against fellow strugglers Drogheda United.

Sean Russell’s cracking strike gave Pete Mahon’s men the lead early in the second-half, before Rhys McCabe scored his first goal for the club to make it 1-1.

Both sides came into this game desperate for a win – Sligo Rovers were hoping to make amends for last week’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Derry City, while Drogheda were looking to bounce back from defeat to Finn Harps the previous week.

The visitors had not won a game since April 21st, worrying form for a team looking to avoid relegation.

Gerard Lyttle admitted he got his team selection wrong last week in the wake of Rovers’ embarrassing annihilation at Maginn Park, but this week he finally welcomed striker Benny Igiehon into the starting eleven, as he finally received clearance to play.

And the 23-year-old almost got his Sligo career off to a dream start. With just seven minutes on the clock, the former Halifax striker forced an excellent stop from Stephen McGuinness in the Drogheda goal, before John Russell’s follow up was deflected wide.

Igiehon was certainly the danger man in the early stages, his excellent shot from distance forced McGuinness to tip it over the bar, before he headed over from a Daniel Kearns corner.

Tobi Adebayo-Rowling thought he had given the Bit O’Red the lead on 21 minutes when he had hit the side-netting, before the Bit O’Red had their best chance of the half.

Having been a threat for the opening 45 minutes, Igiehon set up team-mate Daniel Kearns shortly before the interval, the former Dundalk man smacked the crossbar much to the angst of manager Gerard Lyttle.

Drogheda offered little in terms of attacking threats in the first-half, with Micheal Schlingermann only getting a small taste of the action early on. Although, the Mayo man was undoubtedly the busier of the two goalkeepers as the second-half kicked off.

They were under the cosh for the first-half, but Drogheda dominated the opening proceedings of the second-half and went ahead thanks to a wonder goal with six minutes of the second-half played.

Adebayo-Rowling attempted the clear the ball, but his header went backwards, bouncing and falling into the path of Sean Russell whose outstanding strike curled into the top corner on his debut for the Boynesiders – a goal of the season contender for sure.

But the Bit O’Red were not going to take a defeat in the same manner they did the week previous, and were back on level terms on 64 minutes. Raffaele Cretaro spotted the run of McCabe down the right hand side, and the former Dunfermline man did excellently to run into space, leaving Conor Kane for dead before tucking the ball past McGuinness to make it 1-1 – his first for the club.

The momentum was with the hosts after the equaliser, and they thought they had taken the lead when Kearns hit the back of the net – but the linesman’s flag was raised as the ball went out of play before coming to the winger.

Gerard Lyttle’s side were piling the pressure on the Louth men, who somehow managed to keep it 1-1, despite excellent efforts from both Igiehon and Cretaro.

Although the Bit O’Red pushed on, they could not find the elusive winner.

The draw means Sligo Rovers are now in 9th place, while Drogheda are bottom, a point off Galway United in 11th.

Sligo Rovers: Micheal Schlingermann, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Mick Leahy, Seamus Sharkey, Regan Donelon, Daniel Kearns, Gary Boylan (Jonah Ayunga, 79), John Russell, Rhys McCabe, Raffaele Cretaro, Benny Igiehon.

Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness, Colm Deasy, Llyod Buckley, Luke Gallagher, Conor Kane, Jake Hyland, Sean Russell (Sean Brennan, 70 [Shane Elworthy, 90]), Adam Wixted (Jamie Hollywood, 79), Ryan McEvoy, Thomas Byrne, Stephen Elliott.

Referee: Ray Matthews

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