Just like Shamrock Rovers had done in the opening game of the season against St. Patrick’s Athletic, the Hoops conceded a late goal only to find an even later equaliser to maintain their unbeaten league run – which now stands at 25 matches.
The impressive Bit O’Red – unbeaten now in their opening four games - seemed poised to claim all three points after Walter Figueira scored eight minutes from time after a howler from Hoops ‘keeper Alan Mannus.
However, Rory Gaffney scored two minutes from time to earn the visitors a point.
Liam Buckley’s men will feel disappointed not to claim the victory – and not just because they had taken a late lead. The Bit O’ Red gave as good as they got from the champions at the Showgrounds on Saturday evening.
After Alan Mannus pulled off a great first half save from his former teammate Greg Bolger, the Bit O’ Red had the ball in the back of net only for it to be ruled off for offside. That was the closest the home team came to getting a goal in the first half.
At the other end the Hoops’ best chance came inside two minute when Graham Burke forced Ed McGinty into an early save with the ‘keeper doing well to push the ball away from the waiting Aaron Greene.
The game looked to be heading for a scoreless draw until eight minutes from time when Figueira cut in from the left and shot low from the edge of the area. Mannus didn’t get his body behind the shot and allowed the ball to slip under his body.
The Hoops didn’t panic and created a couple of chances with the second one seeing the combination of substitutes Sean Gannon and Gaffney saving the Hoops.
Gaffney had lots to do after he took Gannon cross in. He turned and rifled his shot home by McGinty off a deflection from the retreating John Mahon to save Mannus’ blushes.
Shamrock Rovers will travel to the Brandywell on Tuesday evening where a win would bring them level with third place Finn Harps.
Sligo Rovers: Edward McGinty; Colm Horgan, Garry Buckley, John Mahon, Robbie McCourt; Niall Morahan, Greg Bolger (c); Jordan Gibson, Romeo Parkes, Walter Figueira; Johnny Kenny (Ryan De Vries 46).
Subs not used: Richard Brush (gk), Regan Donelon, Darren Collins, David Cawley, Mark Byrne, Shane Blaney, Lewis Banks, Peter Maguire.
Booked: Jordan Gibson (57), Greg Bolger (84).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Lee Grace, Sean Hoare, Liam Scales; Ronan Finn (c) (Sean Gannon 78), Chris McCann, Dylan Watts, Sean Kavanagh; Daniel Mandroiu, Aaron Greene, Graham Burke (Rory Gaffney 78).
Subs not used: Leon Pohls (gk) , Roberto Lopes, Max Murphy, Darragh Nugent, Gary O'Neill, Dean Williams.
Booked: Chris McCann (33), Liam Scales (84).
Referee: Derek Tomney
extratime.com Player of the Match: Greg Bolger (Sligo Rovers)
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