Garry Buckley struck in the second minute of added time to claim all the points as Sligo Rovers finally saw off ten-man Drogheda United.
David Cawley had given the Bit O'Red an early two-goal lead courtesy of his brace, but a Georgie Poynton strike along with a Shane Blaney own goal saw Drogs claw their way back into this tie.
United thought they'd done everything required to take a valuable point, only for Buckley to finish from close range in the 92nd minute.
The Showgrounds faithful had to wait less than one minute for the opener. Cawley’s neat finish from the angle was his first goal for the club in over one year.
The Sligo captain had his brace less than 90 seconds later from a similar position. The Ballina man found the net again with a crisply-struck right-footed effort into the corner of Sam Long’s net.
🎥 | GOAL!— SSE Airtricity League (@SSEAirtricityLg) April 23, 2022
It looks like a last-gasp winner for @sligorovers as Gary Buckley fires home after some goalmouth pinball! ⚽️
The drama! 😅@sligorovers 3-2 @DroghedaUnited
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Two behind with just three minutes gone, United heads didn’t drop and Chris Lyons wasn’t far away from halving the deficit on seven minutes. The former Sligo striker mistimed his run as he was only able to head Evan Weir’s cross into the ground before Rovers cleared their lines.
Cawley was inches away from a hat-trick on 17 minutes, but a Drogs defender managed to get a slight touch to his bending effort before it crept around Long’s far post.
The visitors did eat into Sligo’s lead on 26 minutes.
Rovers goalkeeper Ed McGinty looked like he had cleanly claimed Ryan Brennan’s effort from Dayle Rooney’s cross, but referee Damien MacGraith decided the shot-stopper had upended Brennan in the process.
Lyons saw his spot kick saved by McGinty, but the Irish underage international could do little about the follow-up as Poynton stabbed home the rebound.
Liam Buckley’s troops continued their impressive form and should have restored their two-goal lead before the break.
Aidan Keena was first denied from the spot by a strong right hand from Long after Weir and Will Fitzgerald were involved in an off-the-ball altercation inside the Drogheda penalty area, while Blaney saw his bullet header cannon off the top of the Drogheda crossbar four minutes from the break.
Blaney then turned the ball into his own goal early in the second half when he failed to properly deal with a cross from United’s left while under pressure from Lyons.
Kevin Doherty’s charges were reduced to ten when Weir was shown his second yellow on 55 minutes after a rash challenge on Colm Horgan.
Rovers pressed their opponents hard in search of the lead but could only produce a series of half-chances through Blaney, Keena and Paddy Kirk.
Substitute Karl O’Sullivan could only stand on the ball after Fitzgerald’s cross had found him in front of goal with three minutes to go, but their perseverance paid off on 92 minutes when Buckley volleyed home from two yards out to hand Rovers the points.
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan (Lewis Banks 63), Shane Blaney, Garry Buckley, Paddy Kirk; Niall Morahan (Jordan Hamilton 76), Greg Bolger (Adam McDonnell 63); Will Fitzgerald, Mark Byrne (Karl O’Sullivan 63); David Cawley; Aidan Keena.
Drogheda United: Sam Long; Andrew Quinn (Keith Cowan 63), Sean Roughan, Dane Massey, Evan Weir; Gary Deegan; Ryan Brennan (James Clarke 55), Darragh Nugent; Georgie Poynton, Dayle Rooney; Chris Lyons (Luke Heeney 74).
Referee: Damien MacGraith.