Danny North’s arrival turns FAI Cup final in Sligo’s favour
Striker came off the bench to score two and set up the winner for Anthony Elding in pulsating finish
Sligo’s Anthony Elding celebrates his winner in injury time against Drogheda United. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Sligo Rovers 3 Drogheda United 2
Sligo Rovers are FAI cup champions for the third time in four years after a stunning last-gasp win over Drogheda United at the Aviva Stadium.
An inspirational cameo performance from substitute Danny North was key to the comeback as Mick Cooke’s side were denied having led for 65 minutes.
Paul O’Connor’s neat finish gave Drogheda the lead after 13 minutes and they were good value for it by half time.
They would have doubled that lead in the 63rd minute gad referee Paul Tuite not decided Gavin Brennan fouled his marker before heading past Gary Rogers.
Sligo were level 15 minutes later after North, on for Raffaele Cretaro, lacthed on to a flick on at the back post and expertly volleyed past Michael Schlingermann.
He doubled the lead seven minutes later when Joseph Ndo lifted a deadball over the wall and North turned to volley it low past the goalkeeper again.
It was a brilliantly worked finish but Droghede were furious after Tuite had set the wall but not signalled the restart of play with his whistle. Derek Prendergast earned his second yellow card in as many minutes for his protests and the captain walked.
Drogheda’s response was defiant, nonetheless, and Ryan Brennan latched on to a long ball over the top to beat Rogers expertly and equalise deep into injury time.
North had one last card to play, however, and his contribution for the winner was his most sublime yet.
Realising his effort to convert a cross from the right was likely to be thwarted, he stepped off and chested the ball into Anthony Elding instead. The striker, quiet throughout, turned and fired a left footed volley into the top corner from eight yards and Sligo’s lifted the Cup once more.