Lyttle pleased as Rovers earn a point against Dundalk

Sligo Rovers 1

(Igiehon 24)

Dundalk 1

(Vemmelund 9)


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.

The point means Dundalk are 17 off leaders Cork City, but John Caulfield’s side also have two games in hand.

First half goals from Niclas Vemmelund and Benny Igiehon decided the contest, and a draw was a fair result overall.

The opener arrived after just nine minutes after an early period of Dundalk dominance.

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

Rovers, without the injured John Russell and Seamus Sharkey, and the suspended Raffaele Cretaro, had actually created the game’s first chance inside 60 seconds as the recalled Chris Kenny broke into the box but pulled his effort wide.

And the home side dominated play after going behind, with Daniel Kearns seeing a close-range effort scrambled away, and Regan Donelon missing the target from a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Donelon had an even better 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 Benny Igiehon’s dangerous ball effort from the right went all the way to the  net off the far post, with Chris Kenny’s attempt to get a flick on the ball appearing to deceive Rogers.

Rovers could have gone ahead minutes later, as Rhys McCabe broke through the middle and his effort flashed past the foot of the post.

Boss Gerard Lyttle was also left infuriated as referee Graham Kelly waved away two penalty calls in quick succession, though David McMillan and Duffy both had efforts blocked at the other end as Dundalk responded.

Rovers created another chance early in the second half when midfielder Craig Roddan had a shooting opportunity inside the box, but hooked his effort too high.

Dundalk enjoyed a period of dominance after that, and, after a succession of corners, Vemmelund’s back-heel forced a decent stop from Schlingermann.

David McMillan blazed over soon after, while Thomas Stewart mis-kicked when presented with a great chance in front of goal.

Stephen Kenny introduced Dylan Connolly, Jamie McGrath and Steven Kinsella in an effort to try and wrestle the three points off the home side, but their frustrations only grew as Duffy blazed wildly wide in the closing stages.

Rovers boss Gerard Lyttle was pleased with the point.

He said: “I’m really pleased for the boys because they are really putting in the shifts at the minute, and if we keep working like that, we will only get better.

“There is a different mentality now in our changing room. They know what they are doing and where they are going, albeit that we haven’t had the greatest results.

“The champions have come here and we have frustrated them and at times we have played some great football. There is still maybe a little bit of a lack of belief in the final third, where we could take a player on or get a shot off quicker, but other than that there is a lot of positives at the minute.

“The crowd behind us tonight was a big positive again. When you have that crowd behind you, cheering you on, it gets an extra ten or 20 per cent out of the players.

“I think at the minute we have got to keep positive. It’s all positive, the changing room is positive, hopefully we will have some new signings in to freshen things up and add competition.

“I can’t really remember Dundalk threatening our goalmouth too much. They put some crosses into the box, but our keeper hasn’t had a lot to do, so that’s a big bonus as well.”


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

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

REF: G Kelly.