John Coleman’s reign at the Sligo helm got off to the perfect start as he witnessed Sligo edge out ten-man Drogheda United with a 2-1 win in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Drogheda caretaker manager Darius Kierans will be happy with how his side coped against superior numbers for the entire second half.
First-half goals from Danny North and Kieran Djilali proved crucial for Sligo.
Drogheda, who had Paul Andrews sent off before half-time, pulled one back just before the break through a Gavin Brennan penalty, but ultimately could not catch Sligo.
Sligo travelled to Drogheda under new management looking to arrest a run of three league games without a win.
The hosts were hoping to get their first points in eight league outings and Kierans welcomed Michael Schlingermann and Stephen Maher back after long-term injuries.
The writing was on the wall early on for Drogheda when Raffaele Cretaro created some space on the left wing and whipped in a cross which North headed off the crossbar.
The Bit O’Red replicated the move three minutes later and North made no mistake this time, guiding his header just inside the near post past the diving Schlingermann.
They doubled their lead ten minutes later when a sweeping move from the back allowed Djilali to open the Drogheda defence with a crossfield pass to North. North in turn laid the return pass on a plate for Djilali, who had the simple task of firing home from close range.
Drogheda were handed a lifeline on 39 minutes by way of a spot kick. With his back to goal and attempting an overhead, Declan O’Brien had his shirt pulled and Derek Tomney had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Gavin Brennan, recently returned from suspension and having been stripped of captaincy, stepped up and hammered the penalty home.
The Boynesiders were reduced to ten men before the break. Paul Andrews collided with Danny North and received a yellow card, but after an exchange of words Andrews kicked out at the striker and was duly shown a straight red.
Sligo should have increased their lead after the restart when Cawley played North through but his shot was right at Schlingermann. John Russell was next to carve open the Drogheda defence with a through ball to Djilali but his finish was tame enough for the Boynesiders keeper to save.
It was all Sligo as Drogheda looked unable to string the required passes together, Cretaro went narrowly wide from an acute angle. Drogheda looked flat, but Daire Doyle was trying his best to pull his team back into the game.
The hosts did rally in the final five minutes, Declan O’Brien playing as the lone striker doing what he does best, a series of frees presented Drogheda with an opportunity but the Sligo defence held resolute to see out the win.
Drogheda United: Micheal Schlingermann, Shane Grimes, Mick Daly, Paul Andrews, Stephen Maher, Gavin Brennan, Paul Crowley (Sean O’Connor 79), Daire Doyle, Cathal Brady,(Carl Walshe 69) Gavan Holohan, Declan O’Brien
Subs Not Used: David Ryan, Gary O’Neill, Roy Kierans, Ciaran O’Connor, Dale Harding
Sligo Rovers: Gare Rogers, Danny Ledwith, Kalen Spillane, Ross Gaynor; Kieran Djilali, John Russell, Paul O’Conor, David Cawley, Raffaelle Cretaro, Danny North (Aaron Greene 90)
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Sean Maguire, Regan Donelon.