Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United did little to ease their respective SSE Airtricity League Premier Division relegation worries as they played out a tense 1-1 draw at the Showgrounds.

Sean Russell scored a stunner on his United debut to give the Boynesiders the lead early in the second half.

But a Rhys McCabe goal on his first Showgrounds appearance rescued a point for the Bit O'Red who move back out of the drop zone by virtue of a single point. 

Wins for fellow relegation rivals Finn Harps and St Patrick's Athletic had heaped further pressure on both teams to pick up a positive result in this one. 

It was Sligo who created the better of the chances in the opening half.

New signing Benny Igiehon was denied by a superb one-handed stop from Drogheda goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness seven minutes in, while the United netminder repeated the trick just seconds later as he blocked John Russell's follow-up on his goal line.

Igiehon had McGuinness scrambling to hold his speculative effort on the quarter hour.

While he looked favourite to hit the target four minutes later when he met Daniel Kearns' corner with a thumping header only to miss the target by inches. 

Igiehon was involved again before the break as Rovers cracked the woodwork.

With his back to goal, the English striker combined with Kearns who floated inside before unleashing a wicked effort from 20 yards which cannoned back off the crossbar.  

Drogs hadn't won a game in almost three months coming into this one.

Their chances of breaking that run were given a boost in sensational circumstances when they hit the lead six minutes after the break. 

Tobi Adebayo-Rowling's attempted clearance landed in the path of debutant Russell who unleashed an unstoppable 30-yard drive which flew into the opposite corner of the net from the angle.

Sligo pegged Pete Mahon's side back 12 minutes later.

Raffaele Cretaro found McCabe in space on the break.

The Scot showed good feet to cut inside his marker before tucking the ball into the far corner for a goal on his first Showgrounds appearance.

Cretaro's snapshot had the home crowd on their feet 15 minutes from time but the Tubbercurry man could only look on as well-hit drive sneaked past the far post.

McGuinness pulled off another fine save to deny Igiehon on the turn with time running out and the game hanging in the balance. 

The Louth men almost grabbed a late winner.

But Sligo defender Mick Leahy did just enough to get in front of substitute Jamie Hollywood's close-range effort in the third minute of added time.  

Sligo Rovers: Micheál Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Michael Leahy, Seamus Sharkey, Regan Donelon; Rhys McCabe, Gary Boylan (Jonah Ayunga 79), John Russell, Daniel Kearns; Raffaele Cretaro; Benny Igiehon.

Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Luke Gallagher, Lloyd Buckley, Conor Kane; Jake Hyland, Ryan McEvoy, Sean Russell (Sean Brennan 70) (Shane Elworthy 90), Adam Wixted (Jamie Hollywood 79), Thomas Byrne; Stephen Elliot. 

Referee: Ray Matthews