Sligo Rovers came from behind to secure a point in Sunday's 1-1 draw with league leaders St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Anthony Flood had given Pat’s a deserved 16th minute lead, but after a disappointing first 45 minutes, the Bit O’Red came out a more positive, confident look team for the second half and got the goal they deserved in the 82nd minute through defender Evan McMillan.
The result means Rovers remain four points behind Pats but move up to second in the table on goal difference.
It was a slow start to proceedings as both sides appeared to be feeling each other out, David McMillan having the first real opportunity of the game when his looping shot forced Brendan Clarke into action as he parried it wide.
Two minutes later, long clearance from Brendan Clarke was allowed to bounce by Evan McMillan, but this error of judgement presented Anthony Flood with the chance to break the deadlock as he raced onto the loose ball, brought it under control and slotted it low past Gary Rogers.
A lovely piece of skill from Joseph Ndo on the right released Lee Lynch to cross for David Cawley, but the midfielder could only direct his header in to the arms of Clarke.
David McMillan and Anthony Elding combined for the first time in the game after half an hour when the former UCD striker chested a ball down for Elding who quickly returned for McMillan to have a crack at a goal but his rising effort only just missed the target.
Elding could have equalised on the stroke of half-time when he latched on to an Iarfhlaith Davoren cross from the left, but his strike was blocked by the standing leg of the defender on front on him.
A great move from the back shortly after half-time finished with David McMillan who done brilliantly right up until the finished when he blazed his shot over the bar the edge of the box.
Gavin Peers forced former team mate Brendan Clarke into two top saves in the space of three minutes, first knocking a short around the post before tipping a strong header over the bar.
Gavin Peers gifted Pats a golden opportunity to double their lead when his sliced clearance was pounced upon by Greg Bolger who struck from distance but was denied by a terrific diving save from Rogers.
Iarfhlaith Davoren almost caught everyone by surprise with his stinging shot from range in the 77th minute, but Clarke was alert to the danger as he done well to hold on to the shot.
With eight minutes remaining, the champions finally got the equaliser they deserved when Seamus Conneely’s header to the back post was met by Evan McMillan who rose high to head into the top corner.
Unfortunately, there would be no thrilling conclusion to this game as both teams held out for a point.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Lee Lynch (Liam Martin, 75), Seamus Conneely, Joseph Ndo (Kieran Djilali, 68), Joseph Ndo; David McMillan, Anthony Elding.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Jeff Henderson, Jake Dykes, Ross Gaynor, Ryan Connolly.
Booked: Cawley, Davoren.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Aidan Price, Ian Bermingham; Chris Forrester (Jake Kelly, 60), Stephen Maher, Greg Bolger, Shane McFaul, Conan Byrne (Sean Gannon, 75); Anthony Flood (Christy Fagan, 87).
Subs not used: David Ryan, Peter Durrad, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Philly Hughes.
Booked: Bermingham, Maher, Kelly, Bolger, Flood.
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Anthony Flood (St. Patrick’s Athletic).
Alan Finn is a Sligo based reporter who joined the Extratime crew in 2012. If there is a match on in The Showgrounds, it is likely you will find him there.