Dundalk 1-1 Sligo Rovers: Report & Photo Gallery
Jason Byrne and Gavin Peers traded first-half goals as Dundalk and Sligo Rovers had to settle for a point apiece at the end of a highly-entertaining 1-1 draw at Oriel Park on Friday night. The Lilywhites started very brightly and deservedly went ahead on seven minutes when Byrne fired to the top corner from 15-yards after an attempted clearance came off Dean Bennett and rolled into his path. Sligo, however, earned a share of the spoils just past the half-hour mark when Peers powerfully headed a John Dillon corner to the net. Both teams were happy to attack when in possession thereafter but neither could find another way through, Sligo perhaps the happier with the draw.
Go here for a photo gallery from DFC Photographer Nigel Caldwell.
Dundalk manager Ian Foster made just one change to the side that fell to defeat in Derry the previous week and it was an enforced one as Shane Guthrie was replaced by Michael Hector. The on-loan Saint Patrick’s Athletic centre-half was suffering with blurred vision and concussion. It was the home side that started the brighter as Bennett’s cross found Byrne whose header went over the crossbar. Sligo then appeared to be denied a clear penalty when Hector took Eoin Doyle down inside the area. Dundalk took full advantage of that when they hit the front on seven minutes. A mix-up in the home defence between Richie Ryan and Jason McGuinness led to a clearance hitting Bennett and rolling into the path of Byrne who, from just inside the area, blasted to the top corner past a helpless Brendan Clarke.
Sligo responded well and Daryl Horgan shot over from the edge of the box after a corner fell to him, before another corner ended with Dillon’s header finding the roof of the net. That was the best that their pressure could yield. However, the visitors did draw level on 32 minutes. Dillon’s right-footed corner found the head of Peers who buried the ball in the net from ten-yards despite the best efforts of the home defence. Dundalk were hit with a further blow shortly after when Bennett, who only returned from injury last week, was forced off, Keith Ward coming in. Raffaele Cretaro then did well to win a header above Simon Madden but his effort went wide of Peter Cherrie’s right-hand post. Moments later, Hector headed wide from a Daniel Kearns corner. Before the break, Sligo went within inches of a lead goal when Horgan, after a lay-off from Cretaro, drilled narrowly wide, this time of Cherrie’s left-hand upright.
The only note from the half-time break came when Sligo ‘keeper Clarke came out well ahead of everyone else, doing exercises in his penalty area, before both teams reappeared for the second half. On 51 minutes, John Russell was booked for taking down Mark Quigley as he got dangerously close to goal, but the in-form striker’s resulting free-kick from 25-yards was harmlessly off target. Shortly after, Dundalk had a chance when Kearns’ in-swinging cross from the left wing was delightful, but both Byrne and Hector missed it in the six-yard box, Iarfhlaith Davoren appearing to touch it behind but no corner was given. On 58 minutes, Hector tried his luck from all of 40-yards but with plenty of time to weigh it up, Clarke was careful, gathering the low drive at the second attempt. Past the hour mark and Sligo went close to going ahead, Cretaro finding space on the edge of the area and his powerful low shot was well pushed away by the legs of Cherrie.
Just past the midway point of the second period, Quigley did brilliantly, his quick feet creating space just inside the box but his shot was well away from threatening Clarke. With just under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Quigley this time did trouble the visiting No1, shooting from distance, his effort gathered gratefully at the second attempt by the former Saint Patrick’s Athletic stopper. Seconds later, at the other end, following a Dillon cross, Doyle’s attempt from eight-yards was superbly pushed away by Cherrie. Both teams continued to press for a winner later on, Dundalk pushing men forward in the final minutes and producing at times mesmerising football, but they could not find a way past the Sligo defence.
DUNDALK FC (4-2-3-1): Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden ©, Colin Hawkins, Michael Hector, Nathan Murphy; Dean Bennett (Keith Ward 38), Stephen McDonnell; Daniel Kearns, Mark Quigley, Ross Gaynor; Jason Byrne (Johnny Breen 81).
Goal: J Byrne (7).
Booked: M Hector (29), M Quigley (45), C Hawkins (65), J Breen (82).
Unused Subs: Paul Murphy (GK), Mark Griffin, Philip Duffy.
SLIGO ROVERS FC (4-1-3-1-1): Brendan Clarke; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Richie Ryan; Daryl Horgan (Aaron Greene 72), John Russell (Alan Kirby 92), Eoin Doyle; John Dillon; Raffaele Cretaro (Derek Foran 79).
Goal: G Peers (32).
Booked: R Ryan (30), J Russell (51), G Peers (69).
Unused Subs: Ciarán Kelly (GK), Mark McGoldrick.
Referee: Tom Connolly (Dublin).
Attendance: 1,600 (Est.).