A superb second-half comeback from Sligo – a recovery that saw them shoot seven points without reply – delivered them a one-point win over Waterford at Fraher Field.
Waterford, still winless in this campaign, were unable to hold onto a six-point interval lead as they paid a price for two red cards in the first-half.
Indeed, a third red card and a black card in the closing stages meant that Waterford finished this exciting contest with 11 players.
Sligo came to Fraher Field needing to win in order to maintain their promotion push, an ambition that had been stalled by losses to Tipperary and Cavan in recent weeks. But Tony McEntee's men were also anxiously hoping that along with a positive result here there would be a defeat for Tipperary at home against Carlow.
Sligo were without their top scorer, Niall Murphy, with Pat Hughes also absent from the full-forward.
Hosts Waterford didn’t have the luxury of being in the promotion race – they simply wanted to record a first win of the campaign, having lost four times and drawn once.
Sligo were sharp early on but it was tit-for-tat as the visitors led 0-03 to 0-02 by the seventh minute, with David Quinn and Patrick O’Connor each landing good points from play.
Wind-assisted Waterford showed what had been missing up to now – they kicked four points without reply to go 0-6 to 0-3 up with 21 minutes played.
Midfielder Jason Curry kicked a brace of frees with accurate ground kicks and Conor Murray also got in on the scoring act. Waterford also went down to 14 players during this dominant phase as centre-back Dylan Guiry picked up a second booking in the 17th minute.
Sligo, who were underwhelming for much of the opening period, ended Waterford’s run of scores when Sean Carrabine pointed a free.
Then came a decisive moment for Waterford when Tom O’Connell netted with a cracking shot – the ball coming to him after a free attempt for Jason Curry dropped short.
Waterford extended their lead to six points, 1-07 to 0-04, in the 35th minute but a second dismissal – this time a straight red for wing-back Dermot Ryan – left them with 13 players for the second-half.
Frank Ryan, part of the Waterford management team, was shown a red card and banished from the sideline in the first-half.
Sligo had much to do for the second period after a wasteful first-half that featured eight wides and several shots dropped into Waterford goalkeeper Paudie Hunt.
Points from Sean Carrabine and Brian Egan, who converted a mark, revived Sligo but by the 50th minute the gap was back to six, 1-09 to 0-06, after two more pointed frees from Jason Curry, who was Waterford’s only scorer in the second-half.
Waterford, for whom Tom O’Connell was working hard, were still good value for their lead and with 15 minutes of normal time left they were five points clear, 1-10 to 0-08.
Sligo were transformed over the next 16 minutes, however, and seven points without reply saw them make a remarkable comeback to lead by two points, 0-15 to 1-10.
Substitute Nathan Rooney kicked two fine points, Alan Reilly’s long-range effort levelled matters and points by the outstanding Sean Carrabine and Luke Towey pushed Sligo in front.
In stoppage time Waterford cut the margin to the minimum – free-taker Jason Curry with his seventh pointed free.
There was a third red card for the home side when Michael Curry was booked for the second time and then a black card for Jason Curry left Waterford with 11 players.
When the full-time whistle went a relieved Sligo started praying for Carlow to do them a favour.
Waterford: Paudie Hunt, Conor Walsh, Darach O'Cathasaigh, Aaron Jones, Dermot Ryan, Dylan Guiry, Brian Looby, Jason Curry (0-07, 7f), Michael Curry, Stephen Curry, Conor Murray (0-01), Brian Lynch (0-01), Tom O’Connell (1-01), Darragh Corcoran, David Hallihan (0-01)
Subs used: James Walsh for Stephen Curry, 45; Jordan O’Sullivan for Brian Lynch, 59; Jack Keane for Aaron Jones, 61; Craig Burke for David Hallihan, 64; Gareth Duffy for Darragh Corcoran, 68
Sligo: Aidan Devaney, Mark Walsh, Evan Lyons, Paul McNamara, Mikey Gordon, Darragh Cummins, Paul Kilcoyne, Sean Carrabine (0-05, 3f), Gavin Gorman, Keelan Cawley (0-01), Patrick O’Connor (0-02), Luke Towey (0-01), Brian Egan (0-01, 1 'mark’), Alan Reilly (0-02), David Quinn (0-01)
Subs used: Conor Griffin for Gavin Gorman, h-t; Nathan Rooney (0-02) for Mikey Gordon, h-t; Kenny Gavigan for David Quinn, 49; Donal Conlon for Mark Walsh, 57
Referee: Chris Maguire (Clare)