Gerard Lyttle's Sligo Rovers secured a hard-earned 1-1 draw in his first game in charge as Drogheda United failed to make the most of their dominance at United Park.

A lively opening quarter produced plenty of entertaining build-up play and the first two chances fell to Sligo, as Raffaele Cretaro's powerful shot was held by Drogheda keeper Stephen McGuinness and Liam Martin curled wide at the end of a swift counter-attack.

However, it was Drogheda who went closest to scoring in the 18th minute when Adam Wixted's effort was tipped round the post at full stretch by Sligo keeper Micheal Schlingermann.

On 22 minutes, though, Schlingermann was beaten by a moment of brilliance as Drogheda's Gareth McCaffrey turned away from two defenders and rifled a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner of the Sligo net.

The hosts almost doubled their lead immediately as they won a free-kick 30 yards out and McCaffrey's piledriver was pushed away by Schlingermann, diving to his left.

Gavin Brennan then volleyed into the side-netting and Sean Thornton shot narrowly wide as Drogheda continued to look dangerous, but then Sligo had a good spell and they should have levelled on 38 minutes from the penalty spot when Jonah Ayunga was tripped by Shane Elworthy just inside the box, only for McGuinness to keep out Kieran Sadlier's spot-kick with a brilliant save.

The Bit O'Red kept pressing, though, and got their reward on 41 minutes when Sadlier's corner was headed home by the unmarked Ayunga from close range.

Chances in the second half were harder to come by, but Schlingermann was called into action again on 57 minutes to push a Stephen Elliott effort round the post, before Ayunga almost turned in Liam Martin's left-wing cross for Sligo on the hour mark.

Drogheda boss Pete Mahon rang the changes and substitute Killian Brennan had a chance to win it on 80 minutes on his return from injury, but he sliced his shot well wide.

Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran McGuigan, Conor Kane; Adam Wixted (Mark Doyle 85), Sean Thornton, Richie Purdy, Gavin Brennan; Gareth McCaffrey (Killian Brennan 76), Stephen Elliott (Marc Griffin 73). Subs not used: Kevin Farragher, Eoghan Dempsey, Stephen Dunne, Ryan Coulter.

Sligo Rovers: Micheal Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Kyle McFadden, Mick Leahy (Daniel Kearns 38, Mikey Place 90 +3min), Regan Donelon; Kieran Sadlier, Craig Roddan, Gary Boylan, Liam Martin; Raffaele Cretaro, Jonah Ayunga. Subs not used: Chris Kenny, Mark Hannon, Shaun Patton.

Referee: Ray Matthews (Longford)