Sligo Rovers slipped back to third place in the Airtricity League Premier Division night following an entertaining scoreless draw with Cork City at the Showgrounds.
Both sides had good chances to win the game but neither could strike that killer blow to take the full quota of points. Daryl Horgan went closest for the visitors with Sligo's David McMillan spurning a great chance
The result now sees the reigning champions sit in third spot, one behind second placed Dundalk and four off leaders Saint Patrick's Athletic.
The Bit O'Red, hadn't conceded a goal at home in almost 600 minutes in the run up to this game but were without defenders Ross Gaynor (knee) and Gavin Peers who served the first of his two match suspension due to an accumulation of twelve yellow cards.
Manager Ian Baraclough made no less than five changes to the side that comfortably defeated Shelbourne in Sligo on Friday night. Both Evan and David McMillan, Aaron Greene, Seamus Conneely and Joseph Ndo all returning in place of Gavin Peers, Danny North, Lee Lynch, Raffaele Cretaro and Danny Ventre respectively.
Cork interim boss Stuart Ashton brought his in-form team across the Shannon having won five of their last six league games. The Rebels were without Kevin Murray and Darren Dennehy courtesy of respective injuries. Ashton made one change to the side who swept aside the challenge of UCD at the weekend with Colin Healy taking the place of Ian Turner.
Sligo enjoyed a 1-0 win over the Leesiders in the FAI Cup recently and were looking to keep the pressure on both the Lillywhites and the Saints. Kieran Djilali was the first to have a sight at goal with two minutes played, but veteran goalkeeper Mark McNulty dealt comfortably with the winger's effort from 20 yards.
Shane Duggan had the chance to put the visitors in the lead on eight minutes. Ndo conceded possession in the centre of the field before Duggan made his way to the front of the Rovers area, but his shot failed to worry Sligo netminder Gary Rogers.
Daryl Horgan was a constant threat to the Sligo defence and skied his 16th minute volley before passing up a wonderful opportunity to put City in the lead on 24 minutes. Ciaran Kilduff did well to get his shot away before the ball bounced off a Sligo defender and into the path of Horgan who couldn't direct his header past Rogers from close range.
Jeff Henderson flashed a header wide of the post from a Djilali cross on 28 minutes, moments before David McMillan's acrobatic bicycle kick sailed wide of McNulty's goal from an Alan Keane cross.
Cork threatened again on 33 minutes but Danny Murphy couldn't squeeze his free kick from the angle under Rogers' crossbar.
It was then Sligo's turn to miss a great opportunity shortly after, as McMillan poked the ball wide of the post from inside the six yard box having been teed up by a pint-point Aaron Greene cross from the left.
Horgan went close to bending his right footed shot inside Rogers' back post six minutes before the break after he found space down the left.
It was the former Sligo winger who was responsible for the first chance of the second period. Some good interplay between Murphy and Horgan on 50 minutes resulted in the latter releasing a shot from distance which fizzed past the target.
Henderson almost flicked the ball beyond McNulty a minute later after he latched on to a Djilali corner. The Cork goalkeeper displaying great reactions to palm the ball over his own crossbar.
Cork were forced to withdraw Danny Morrisey from proceedings on 56 minutes after he collided with Rogers in an attempt to get to a punt forward from McNulty which bounced over Henderson. The midfielder had to be stretchered off following attention from the Cork physio for an upper body injury.
Kilduff dragged another City effort wide just past the hour mark, four minutes before Colin Healy skied his shot from the edge of the Sligo area high into the night sky having been set up by Horgan.
The Bit O'Red introduced Raffaele Cretaro to the mix in place of David Cawley with just over 20 minutes remaining in an effort to boost their attacking options.
The Tubbercurry man conceded a free kick in a dangerous position only minutes after his introduction, but again Healy put too much power behind his drive.
Sligo then had to rely on Rogers to keep the game level on 76 minutes. Danny Ventre misread Murphy's long ball forward and Kilduff stole in behind the Rovers rearguard. Kilduff looked odds on to break the deadlock only for Rogers to divert his effort away from danger. Indeed his opposite number McNulty was on hand again shortly after when he got behind a David McMillan shot 30 seconds later.
With three minutes left and their chances of retaining their league title looking less and less likely by the second, Sligo again went agonisingly close. Ndo did well to pick out Greene who from eight yards, failed to get enough power behind his shot and McNulty claimed his swerving attempt with relative ease.
Murphy did well to deal with a Djilali cross facing his own goal two minutes into injury time as City faced an onslaught. Henderson nodded wide from a Davoren cross from the Rovers left. But the Rebels held tight to claim a deserved point from the west.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Evan McMillan (for Danny Ventre 67), Jeff Henderson, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Kieran Djilali, Joseph Ndo, David Cawley (for Raffaele Cretaro 69), Seamus Conneely, Aaron Greeen; David McMillan (for Danny North 79).
Substitutes: Matthew Gledhill, Anthony Elding, Pascal Millien, Lee Lynch.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Kavanagh, Dan Murray, Garry Buckley, Danny Murphy; Daryl Horgan, Danny Morrisey (John Dunleavy 58), Shane Duggan, Colin Healy, Gearoid Morrisey ;Ciaran Kilduff.
Substitutes: Kevin Burns, Ian Turner, Kalen Spillane, Brian Lenihan, Stephen Kenny, Rob Lehane.
Referee: Padraigh Sutton (Clare)