Dundalk now 17 points adrift after being held by Sligo Rovers

Stephen Kenny left frustrated as defending champions fail to make most of opportunities

Dundalk’s Niclas Vemmelund scored the opening goal in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dundalk’s Niclas Vemmelund scored the opening goal in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Sligo Rovers 1 Dundalk 1

Dundalk’s grip on the Premier Division title loosened further as Stephen Kenny’s side were held to a one-all draw by struggling Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Saturday night.

The point means Dundalk are now 17 points off leaders Cork City, but John Caulfield’s side also have two games in hand, the first of which is on Monday evening at home to a Bohemians side boosted by their derby win over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght last Friday night.

Kenny was left frustrated: “We’re disappointed not to win overall, because we had quite a few chances tonight. But I think Sligo were very committed, as you would expect when they are fighting for their lives here to stay in the division.

“Early on they made it very difficult for us and closed us down all over the park, and it was probably fair going in at one-all at half-time.

“Second half we dominated and played a lot of good football, but they defended deep and defended their box well, and we just didn’t take the chances that came our way.”

First-half goals from Niclas Vemmelund and Benny Igiehon decided the contest, with the Dundalk centre back opening the scoring after just nine minutes after an early period of Dundalk dominance.

Michael Duffy’s free-kick on the left was floated on to the head of the defender, who guided it past the helpless Micheál Schlingermann and into the net.

But the home side dominated play after going behind, and Regan Donelon had a great chance just before the equaliser arrived when he dispossessed Brian Gartland close to goal and Gary Rogers had to make a vital block.

But the leveller did come on 24 minutes when Igiehon’s dangerous ball effort from the right went all the way to the net off the far post.

Rovers boss Gerard Lyttle said: “We’re becoming a hard team to break down and beat. We’re disappointed with the goal we conceded. I hate conceding from set plays.

“But rather than crumble, they rolled their sleeves up and had a go.”

SLIGO: Schlingermann, Adebayo-Rowling, Callan-McFadden, Leahy, Donelon, Roddan, Boylan, Kenny, McCabe (Keaney, 88 mins), Kearns, Igiehon (Armstrong, 90 mins).

DUNDALK: Rogers, Gannon, Vemmelund, Gartland, Massey, Shields, Mountney (Connolly, 63 mins), Benson, Duffy (Kinsella, 84 mins), Stewart (McGrath, 78 mins), McMillan.

Referee: G Kelly.

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