Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Championship round-up, November 8

All the latest from Championship One and Two:

Championship One

 

Armagh City 1 Bangor 2

Armagh City came within a whisker of taking the scalp of unbeaten Belfast Telegraph Championship One leaders Bangor at Holm Park on Saturday. 

Only a late rally saved the Seasiders, who dealt a double blow to scuttle the brave Eagles in a rip-roaring contest. 

Chances were at a premium early on, but Bangor almost opened their account on 17 minutes, when a thunderous shot from Richard Gibson was brilliantly palmed to safety by City stopper Sean Morgan.

But Armagh fought back and visiting keeper Paul Cairnduff was at full stretch on the half-hour to deny rampant striker Stephen Murray. 

Murray had another half chance just before the break but, on this occasion, Cairnduff was not troubled. 

In the opening half, the teams largely cancelled each other out but, after the break, the game really opened up and many more chances were created. 

The home side were now much more direct and Murray, Philip Donnelly and Ryan McGerrigan all went close after a period of pressure. 

Bangor were always dangerous on the break, however, and Gibson just missed out with a headed effort despite the close attentions of Armagh centre-back Ultan Lennon. 

A breakthrough looked inevitable and this duly arrived in the 64th minute. 

City's Murray burst through to the edge of the box before unleashing a powerful low shot, which left Cairnduff floundering on this occasion. 

But the big Bangor stopper made amends minutes later when he pulled off another great save from the dangerous Armagh striker. 

The visitors then took the bull by the horns as they piled forward in search of an equaliser. And they drew level on 85 minutes when Colin Nixon climbed high at the back post to find the top corner of the City net with a well-placed header. 

Bangor kept on the offensive and, in the 90th minute, they grabbed the winner when a swinging cross from the right by Dom Melly eluded everyone in the packed goalmouth and drifted past the unlucky Morgan. 

This was a dagger in the heart for City but a real boost to high-flying Bangor, who maintain their unbeaten league run.

 

PSNI 0 Ballyclare Comrades 4

In this battle between two teams at the lower end of the table, the police were optimistic that they may get something out of the game, having defeated Ballyclare earlier in the season in the Steel and Sons Cup.

It was the Comrades who coped better with the conditions and opened the scoring on five minutes, when a quick break down the left saw Kyle Agnew collect the ball from a Randal Reid pass. Agnew’s shot on goal took a cruel deflection off the back of a police defender and left Matty Quinn with no chance of preventing the Comrades taking the lead.

In the 20th minute, the Comrades won a free kick 30 yards out. Samuel McIlveen’s effort was high and dipping into the top right hand corner, only for Quinn to get his fingers to the ball and tip over for a corner.

On 31 minutes, a repeat free by McIlveen from edge of the 18-yard box was again parried away by Quinn. From the resultant break, Lukasz Adamczyk had a great run into the Comrades half and his attempt at lobbing Paddy Flood from 20 yards missed the target.

Following a corner to the PSNI on 34 minutes, Ashton McDermott brought a fine save from Flood. The ball then fell loose and there was an attempted back pass to Quinn, who had to race well outside the 18-yard box only to see his clearance blocked by Joel Cooper. Cooper got to his feet very quickly and had no problem doubling the Ballyclare scoreline.

Just like at the start of the first half, Comrades scored within five minutes of the restart. A cruel bounce of the ball saw it come off the leg of Scott McCrory and into the path of an advancing Reid, who made no mistake with his hard low driven shot into the PSNI net. 

Ballyclare won a free on the edge of the PSNI box on 54 minutes and a driven shot by Joel Cooper forced a first class save by Quinn and Denver Gage’s effort with the loose ball went just over the bar from six yards out.

On 55 minutes, Adamczyk received a yellow card for a foul on the halfway line. Following his dissent with the referee’s decision he was given a straight red. The PSNI were now down to 10 men and backs firmly against the wall with 35 minutes remaining.

It was no surprise to see Ballyclare dominate the remainder of the game, having most of the possession, and could have increased their lead. The curtain was brought down on a damp afternoon when Agnew scored his second in injury time, following a goalmouth scramble.

 

Championship Two

 

Moyola Park 2 Annagh United 7

Moyola Park tasted defeat for the first time in Championship Two this season in their tenth outing.

The visitors were the much better of the two sides, getting off to a good start when Jaime Gardiner took advantage of good work by Scott McCordick down the right wing to slot the ball past Marty Rea into the Moyola Park net in the game's opening minute.

McCordick hit the crossbar with a long range effort and hit an upright before he took advantage of a spilled ball by Rea to double Annagh United's advantage on 19 minutes.

Eugene Gallagher struck a long range effort, which Ciaran Fox held, before Chris Dowie rattled the back of the Annagh net after 25 minutes, taking advantage of a cross by Craig McAllister from the edge of the penalty area.

Two minutes later, Gareth Stewart fouled McCordick in the Moyola Park penalty area and Shea Campbell dispatched the resultant penalty kick past Rea into the home side's net. There was worse to come for Moyola Park before the half time break, when McCordick lobbed Rea to give the visitors a 4 -1 lead.

Dowie pulled a goal back for Moyola on 54 minutes when, following a mix up in the United defence, he chipped the ball past Fox. However, this was as good as it got for the home side.

Campbell doubled his tally on the hour mark and Steven Park took the visitors' tally to six with barely 20 minutes left on the clock. Central defender Stephen Acheson notched the visitors' seventh goal in the 78th minute to round off a miserable day for the league leaders. Curtis Hassan was unfortunate not to add a third goal for Moyola Park when he rattled the Annagh United crossbar in time added on.

Moyola Park will need to regroup before travelling to Lurgan Celtic next week. The latter side remain in second place, three points behind Moyola, but with a game in hand, following a 2-2 draw with Tobermore United. It will take a much-improved performance from Mervyn Pattison's men to add to their points tally in Lurgan.

 

Lurgan Celtic 2 Tobermore United 2

Celtic dropped two points at home, letting a two goal lead slip against an improving Tobermore side.

Early exchanges were fairly even on a pitch made greasy by the persistent rain, which fell all morning and throughout the match, causing a lot of players to lose their footing.

Celtic took the lead in the 40th minute, when Raymond Fitzpatrick received the ball on the right and took on several defenders before guiding the ball into the net, despite the United keeper getting his fingers to the shot.

In the second half, Celtic were more in control and extended their lead after Dale Malone delivered a great cross for Fitzpatrick to head home on 70 minutes.

After this, Chris Lavery and Daniel Ryan were withdrawn to be replaced by Niall Lavery and Jason Rodgers, but out of the blue, Tobermore reduced the arrears with a long range shot, which beat Michael Goff in the Celtic goal on 78 minutes, and minutes later they were level, after Shane McCabe took down a Tobermore forward in the box and was sent off, as he was the last man.

Goff saved the spot kick but the penalty taker slammed home the rebound to level matters. The 10 men of Celtic laid siege to the visitors' goal and came close several times but couldn't retrieve the situation. Next week’s game at home against leaders Moyola Park is vital for both teams, as the race for places at the top heats up.

Glebe Rangers 4 Banbridge Town 0

Glebe Rangers' new management team took charge for the first time on Saturday and Jason Wilmont, Ian Bellingham and Johnny Hume could not fail to be impressed with the response, as Glebe secured their third league victory of the season with an emphatic 4-0 score-line.

Glebe displayed an urgency from kick-off, perfectly summed up by Chris Nicholl, who turned in his best performance of the season, scoring two goals before his afternoon was cruelly ended by a hamstring injury in the second half.

Indeed, it was the big striker who opened the scoring in the 16 minute when he latched on to McVicker’s incisive through ball, cut inside two defenders and curled the ball, Oscar-like, past the helpless James McConville. 

Despite the best efforts of both teams, neither Kane nor McConville were troubled until Kane was called into action after 32 minutes. Neat interplay between Alaistair Wilson and Gourley saw the Glebe custodian forced to turn Gourley’s effort past his near post.

From the resultant corner, Kane reacted superbly to deny Mark Taggart. With the interval approaching, McDowell’s effort flashed just wide before the influential play-maker set up Christie, who was only denied by a fine tip-over by McConville.

However, Glebe were not to be denied and, right on the half time whistle, McDowell’s corner was only cleared to the lurking Chad Dobbin, whose well-struck effort flew into the bottom of the net.

Having scored right at the end of one half, Glebe scored just after the restart, when McDowell’s low cross was swept in by Nicholl.

The hosts began to demonstrate the confidence a three-goal cushion brings, and only a fine Martin Buchanan challenge prevented Nicholl from completing his hat-trick after a sweeping move involving McVicker and McDowell.

Unfortunately, that was the end of Nicholl’s involvement as he pulled up shortly afterwards with what appeared to be a serious injury. The McVicker/McDowell combination also worked again in the 67th minute and this time, it was McVicker who was stopped at the last moment, as he threatened to make it four.

Banbridge continued to battle and Kane had to be at his best to deny Gourley after he was found by Alaistair Wilson. Colin Byers was introduced and immediately made his presence felt as he set up Ian Christie, but the midfielder’s effort sailed over.

However, Christie was not to be denied and, following a fine pass from Morrison, he rounded the advancing McConville to slot home and complete the day’s scoring. The visitors almost snatched a late consolation when Kane’s clearance fell to Buchanan, who was unable to find an empty net, and it was left to Glebe to take the spoils, as Wilmont’s reign got off to the best possible start.

 

Newington YC 2 Dollingstown 0

The three-game winning streak for DFC came to an abrupt end at Seaview on Saturday, when Newington deservedly claimed all three points in a repeat of the play-offs between both teams two years ago.

The first half had very little to write home about, with neither team having serious efforts on target, although DFC had a few attempts off target from Jordan Gibson and Ashley Gregg, while Peter Gilgunn was unlucky for Newington right on half time, when he shot wide after a strong run into the area.

Newington carried much more threat in the second half and duly went in front on 57 minutes, when centre-half Sean Adams opened the scoring with a scrambled effort from inside the six-yard box following a corner, which DFC failed to clear.

DFC didn't seem to learn from this set play and conceded the crucial second goal five minutes later, when a free kick on the right was superbly headed home to put Newington 2-0 up.

Indeed, Newington should have added a third goal when Dwayne Kerr slipped on the Seaview surface and presented the striker with an excellent chance, but he fired wide. DFC made three substitutions in the final 20 minutes, but despite these changes, they rarely troubled the Newington back four.

 

Queen's University 3 Limavady United 2

It was end-to-end football from the start, and the first good chance fell to Limavady right-back Ryan Mullan, who turned inside and hit a great left foot shot which was heading for the far top corner until Declan Brown made an excellent save.

On 31 minutes the home side were ahead when referee Kennedy awarded them a penalty which was fired home by James Ferrin. Queen’s were on top at this stage, and might have improved on their one goal half time lead.

Ten minutes after the break, it was 2-0. Sean Walsh beat a number of defenders on the left wing and his low cross from the goal-line found Mark Prenter, who scored off the underside of the crossbar.

Limavady came much more into the game and when Queen’s failed to clear a corner, the ball fell to Limavady’s Lee Harkin, who scored with a shot through a crowed penalty area.

United were well on top now, and it was no great surprise when they equalised through Gareth Brown with a great left foot drive low into the far corner with 15 minutes left.

The visitors looked the likely winners at this stage, but Queen’s rallied and in added time, found a winner. Walsh’s cross from the right wing caused chaos in the Limavady ranks and after a number of shots were blocked, the ball fell to Prenter, who made no mistake from 10 yards. Limavady’s Conor O’Hara protested the goal and was sent off in the dying seconds.

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