Sligo fail to close the gap

 

SLIGO Rovers missed the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders in the Premier Division- when they failed to finish off luckless Dundalk in an extraordinary match at the Show Grounds on Saturday night.

Dundalk lost goalkeeper Eddie Van Boxtel with a knee injury after 12 minutes, but despite taking the lead five minutes later, Sligo failed to take full advantage of the visitors' misfortune.

Dundalk showed admirable battling qualities in coming from behind three times for a deserved draw.

Sligo took the lead when Robert Brunton blasted a penalty past stand-in goalkeeper, John Coady, after a Dundalk defender had been adjudged to have handled the ball in a goalmouth scramble.

Johnny Kenny hit the bar as sligo went all out for a second, but they were caught napping at the back in the 21st minute when Joe Gallen forced the ball home from close range following Joe Hanrahan's in-swinging free kick.

Five minutes of injury time had elapsed at the end of the first half when Ian Gilzean restored Sligo's lead following good work by

Gavin Dykes.

Dundalk survived some anxious moments early in the second half but gradually got their game together and equalised in the 66th minute. A free kick from David Crawley was only partially cleared and Mick Doohan pounced to beat Mark McLean with a well-struck shot.

Sligo looked set for victory when Gilzean grabbed his second goal of the game in the 82nd minute, but Dundalk hit back immediately with Gallen heading home from Hanrahan's cross just a minute later.

An Italian minor league soccer referee, fleeing furious fans and players, barricaded himself in a changing room yesterday and summoned a police escort by diaIling an emergency number.