New Bit O’Red boss begins life with a hard-fought point at Drogheda

Drogheda United 1
Sligo Rovers 1

Gerard Grimes reports from United Park  

A THRILLING FIRST half produced all the action as Drogheda United and Sligo Rovers played out a 1-1 draw at United Park.

Gareth McCaffrey gave Drogheda the lead before Sligo — whose new manager Gerard Lyttle was taking charge of his first game for the club — were awarded a penalty on 37 minutes.

However, Kieran Sadlier’s saw his spot-kick saved before Sligo managed to find an equaliser before half-time through Jonah Ayunga.

Drogheda controlled the opening exchanges and almost took the lead through Stephen Elliott. The former Ireland international cut inside and produced a shot destined for the top corner but it was brilliantly saved by Michael Schlingermann.

Drogheda went in front after 22 minutes as McCaffrey beat Gary Boylan and his powerful low strike found the far corner.

Sligo were awarded a penalty on 37 minutes after Shane Elworthy fouled Ayunga inside the box. Sadlier stepped up but McGuinness produced a strong save to deny the Sligo man.

The visitors drew level just minutes later as a corner from Sadlier was headed home by the unmarked Ayunga at the back post.

The second half failed to live up to the first as both sides struggled to create many clear-cut chances.

It was Ayunga who came closest for Sligo — he was inches away from tapping home a Liam Martin cross.

Drogheda’s best chance came with ten minutes to go as Griffin cut the ball back to substitute Killian Brennan but the midfielder slipped and his effort went high and wide.

Drogheda United: McGuinness; Elworthy, Gallagher (c), McGuigan, Kane; Thornton, Purdy, G Brennan; Wixted (Doyle 85’), Elliott (Griffin 73’), McCaffrey (K Brennan 76’).

Sligo Rovers: Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy (Kearns 38’) (Place 92’), Boylan, McFadden, Donelan; Roddan (c), Sadlier, Martin; Cretaro, Ayunga (Stevens 82’).

Referee: Ray Matthews

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