Sligo Rovers' grip of third place under threat following draw at home with Waterford

Andre Wright gave the hosts the lead just before half-time, with Phoenix Patterson equalising in the second half.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Sligo Rovers 1

Waterford 1

Jessica Farry reports from The Showgrounds

SLIGO ROVERS’ PLACE in third position in the table continues to be under threat as the Bit O’Red were held to a 1-1 draw with Waterford at The Showgrounds.

Derry City’s defeat to Shamrock Rovers offered the Bit O’Red an opportunity to move ahead in third, sitting just four points behind. Boheman’s victory over Longford Town means they are now only five points off third, with a game in hand.

Andre Wright gave the hosts the lead just before half-time in what was a scrappy half, with Phoenix Patterson levelling the score early into the second-half.

The home side have been somewhat inconsistent of late, losing to Dundalk last week in Oriel Park and Shamrock Rovers the following week despite two wins on the bounce before their form dipped again.

The pressure is on Liam Buckley’s side, for whom third is the aim, with Derry City three points behind in fourth prior to tonight’s games. The visitors have turned their form around since manager Marc Bircham took charge, and have won three of their last six games.

Waterford knew that a victory in Sligo would see them move level on points with Dundalk in eighth place. In what was a scrappy first half, the visiting defence was arguably the busier of the two, although Brian Murphy in goals was rarely troubled.

Johnny Kenny ran onto a long ball from Garry Buckley, but he couldn’t connect right. Ed McGinty in the Sligo goals had to force a powerful drive from Quitirna Junior Armado away from goal before Phoenix Patterson’s long range effort was well wide of the target.

Kenny and Lewis Banks tried to open up the Waterford defence in search of an opener, but they would have to keep looking.

The home side were celebrating on 42 minutes when they took the lead, although Marc Bircham’s side had something to say about that.

Greg Bolger collected the ball when the Blues felt they should have had a free, their protests falling on deaf ears as Bolger’s ball into the box was nodded down by Kenny for Wright to backheel into the net. The protests continued, but referee John McLoughlin wasn’t interested.

Bircham’s half-time team-talks are rumoured to be a thing of magic, and it certainly seemed the case when his side levelled the scoring on 49 minutes. A perfectly weighted through ball from Prince Mutswunguma fell nicely into the path of Patterson who placed his effort neatly into the net to make it 1-1.

Half chances were the theme of the second-half following Waterford’s equaliser, with Kenny and Wright hitting the side netting, while Robbie McCourt’s late goal-line clearance denied Patterson a second.

The Blues are now two points behind Dundalk, as they look to move away from the relegation play off spot.

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Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, Robbie McCourt, Garry Buckley, Colm Horgan; Niall Morahan (Mark Byrne 90), Greg Bolger, Adam McDonnell; Ryan De Vries; Johnny Kenny (Walter Figueira 81), Andre Wright.

Waterford: Brian Murphy; Darragh Power, Eddie Nolan, Kyle Ferguson, Cameron Evans; Shane Griffin (Jack Stafford 49), Niall O’Keefe, Anthony Wordsworth, Phoenix Patterson; Junior Armado; Prince Mutswunguma.

Referee: John McLoughlin.

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Jessica Farry

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