Sligo Rovers 1-1 Derry City

Stewart Greacen and Eoin Doyle
Derry's Stewart Greacen battles with Eoin Doyle at the Showgrounds

Title hopefuls Derry City were held by Sligo Rovers in Saturday's Airtricity League Premier Division clash.

Shamrock Rovers now lead the Candystripes by two points after beating Dundalk 2-1 on Saturday and the Hoops also have a game in hand.

Joseph Ndo's 14th-minute deflected effort put Sligo ahead as the home side bossed the early stages.

However, Stephen McLaughlin levelled on 41 with another deflected shot after his own superb run.

Both teams had other chances in a lively first half although Sligo looked the more purposeful outfit.

The pace slackened after the break although Sligo defender Gavin Peers cleared an Eamon Zayed effort off the line after keeper Brendan Clarke had failed to gather.

Sligo's Eoin Doyle also had a penalty claim turned down in the 74th minute after appearing to have his shorts tugged by Derry defender Shane McEleney.

Derry boss Mark Farren returned to action as a second-half sub in his first game since undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumour.

Ndo fired Sligo ahead on 14 minutes as his long-range shot took a slight deflection off Shane McEleney.

Cameroon international Ndo was causing problems for the Derry defence early on and another of his crosses was headed just wide by Aaron Greene.

As Sligo continued to look the more dangerous side, Alan Kirby fired just wide after a misjudgement by Eddie McCallion.

Then came the key minute of the match as firstly, Gerard Doherty made a great save to stop a pointblank Doyle chance and then McLaughlin's shot flew off Jason McGuinness and into the Sligo net at the other end.

McLaughlin had produced a brilliant run to beat three defenders but there was an element of luck about the goal.

Sligo went close to restoring their lead twice before the break as Ruaidhri Higgins' brilliant tackle denied Doyle and unmarked Peers headed an Ndo corner over the bar.

The second half was less action-packed and a draw probably represented a fair result as Derry extended their unbeaten league run to 14 games.