Belfast Telegraph

Championship round-up November 9

Round-up of action from Championship One & Two:

Championship One

Welders 1 Carrick 2

Two first half goals from Jody Lynch and Ian West give Rangers the win over the Welders.

Following the derby win over Larne three weeks ago, Carrick Rangers finally returned to action on Saturday when they faced H&W Welders at Tillysburn Park. Following Gary Haveron's installation as manager, Rangers had drawn one and won one game, with a 1-1 stalemate against Dundela followed by a 2-1 derby win over Larne at Inver Park seven days later.

The Welders, on the other hand, had a very bright start to their campaign but came into the game without a win in five, with their most recent results a home defeat to league leaders Dundela and a 2-2 draw at Dixon Park against Ballyclare Comrades last Saturday.

Welders started the game brightly, without creating any clear-cut chances in the open ing stages of the game. Gary Haveron made three changes to his team from the last team he selected for the 2-1 win over Larne, with McVeigh, Lynch, West and Bell coming in to replace Donaghy, McCann, Bell and Kelly.

It was Rangers who scored the game’s opening goal, Jody Lynch finishing a fine move as he headed past Welders goalkeeper Lee Windrum from eight yards out.

The goal seemed to settle Rangers, as they took a foothold in the game, and 12 minutes later, they doubled their lead. Ian West rose highest to meet a corner taken by Aidan O'Kane to direct the ball past Windrum, scoring Rangers’ second goal of the day.

Just two minutes later, Welders responded. Dan McMurray powered the ball past Rangers keeper Gareth Deane from 15 yards after a Welders corner evaded everyone else in the Carrick penalty area.

The Welders goal was scored after 27 minutes and from that point onwards to half time, the match was devoid of any significant goalmouth action. Carrick dealt well with Welders’ direct approach to the game, ensuring that chances were kept to a minimum.

Lynch was justifying his selection in the starting line-up,  becoming a handful up front. He linked up well with the rest of his team in the black and amber shirts, and provided a threatening cross which Rangers failed to convert.

Following the resumption of play in the second half, the game was a fiesty, competitive affair. Welders captain Ryan Deans displayed the fighting spirit and attitude which gained him so much praise during his time at Taylor's Avenue.

Richard Gibson had a brilliant opportunity to score his ninth goal of the season, but forced his header wide of the goal. Gibson then appealed for a free nkick just outside the Welders penalty area when it appeared that he had been shoved by Philip Simpson, but   referee judged the challenge to be fair.

Carrick captain Aaron Harmon, who was earning his 100th appearance for the club, gave Welders a scare, his 25 yard shot narrowly going past the crossbar.

Rangers defended resolutely, Gareth Deane fresh off his selection as Ranger's player of the month for October commanding the box well. Meanwhile, central defensive pairing Glenn Taggart and Dermot McVeigh combined well to deal with Welder's forward passes.

The home side thought they had grabbed a stoppage time equaliser but Aaron Sills’ headed effort was ruled out for offside.

 

Coagh United 2 Dergview 3

Marksman Darren Higginbotham registered his first Championship goal as Dergview put much-needed daylight between themselves and the relegation zone with a hard-fought Tyrone derby victory over Coagh United at Hagan Park on Saturday.

The precious league victory, only Dergview's second of the season, sees Richard Clarke's side leapfrog Larne into 11th place, but more importantly, pushes them five points ahead of basement side Limavady United and four clear of second from bottom Coagh.

Saturday's crucial six-pointer was originally pencilled in for Darragh Park, but the fixture was switched due to a waterlogged pitch.

Conceding home advantage mattered little as Higginbotham, Stephen Campbell and Adam Lecky all scored in a polished first half display that had Dergview almost home and hosed at the interval.

A second minute Jason Gillespie penalty had given the hosts something to hang on to and when Steven Park blasted home a second goal just six minutes into the second half, it was game on.

Dergview though regained control in the final quarter and held on to post three valuable points.

The action was fast and furious from the off, with the visitors taking less than 30 seconds to open their account, Arkinson whipping over a delightful right-sided cross which Higginbotham, rising majestically, glanced expertly inside the back post.

That early advantage was extremely short-lived. Referee Wesley Campbell adjudged that Dergview defender Gareth Liggett had handled a Jamie Tomelty corner kick and Gillespie made no mistake from the penalty spot.

That, though, was as good as it got for the home side in the first half as Clarke's team continued to ask questions of a suspect Coagh rearguard, missing the suspended trio of Aaron Thornton, David Calderwood and James Ferguson.

In the 10th minute, the hosts breathed a huge sigh of relief when Arkinson's deflected shot came back off the base of William Hassan's left upright.

Two minutes later, the visitors forged ahead when after good work by Higginbotham and Mark Lecky, with Stephen Campbell bursting through the heart of a bedraggled home defence to volley home.

Moments later, Hassan was smartly off his line to thwart Campbell who had dashed in from the left and, before Dergview registered their third, Arkinson blazed inches over.

In the 28th minute, Arkinson then turned creator,  waltzing through the centre of the field to release the towering Adam Lecky who coolly slotted past the advancing Hassan.

Dergview remained well on top but in the dying minutes of the half, their opponents threatened a second, but Stephen Lamont just failed to control Mark Taylor's whipped delivery and Boggs gathered safely.

Coagh desperately needed a shot in the arm and six minutes into the second half their fortunes were boosted when Tomelty prised apart the visiting defence for the excellent Park to dash in from the right and rifle an unstoppable shot past Boggs.

United continued to shade matters, but around the hour mark the visitors should have netted a fourth when Campbell's close-range effort was brilliantly blocked on the goal line by defender Barry Anderson.

It was a stunning clearance, but paled into insignificance when compared to a miraculous double block by Boggs and Clarke at the opposite end. The visiting defence was all at sea as Boggs produced a blinding point-blank stop to thwart Colin Donaldson, before Clarke put his body on the line to somehow deny Gillespie on the follow-up.

That guilt-edged opportunity represented the home side's final threatening kick as the visitors, who lost skipper Colin Robinson with a broken nose, regained a foothold in the final quarter.

And Dergview could have put a gloss on the final scoreline, but Hassan saved well from Higginbotham who had been sent galloping away on the right by Clarke before Adam Lecky and Higginbotham combined to tee up Arkinson, whose shot was deflected inches past the goalkeeper's left post.

 

Knockbreda 2 Institute 2

Institute enjoyed most of the possession in the first 30 minutes of the match, but not once did they test Heslop, the Breda midfielder who was drafted into nets for this match. Instead, they found themselves two down and very lucky to have 11 men at half time. The first penalty came from the last man bringing down Johnston after receiving a yellow card, he gave away a second penalty for an off-the-ball incident. Wright scored both penalties. The second half was dominated by Stute, but the Breda back four were protecting their keeper brilliantly until the 70th minute when Parkhouse calmly slotted in a great left wing cross. Breda defended the one goal lead until the 85th minute when Heslop blotted his copybook by pushing a Stute forward after collecting the ball in the corner of the box. The ref awarded this third penalty, which was converted to make it 2-2.

 

Limavady United 1 Bangor 2

This was a much improved United, but ultimately still suffering from a chronic lack of goal power, and on this occasion were frustrated by some refereeing decisions. Jack Heaney started in midfield with Aaron McGregor pushed into the centre of defence and McIvor moved out to the wing as manager Neil Mullan reshuffled his small squad to stiffen the spine of the side. The changes paid off, as all three had their best games of the season. Indeed, the entire team played well, only to be denied at least a point by two calls from referee Ferguson and his assistants. Firstly, he awarded the penalty which decided the outcome of the game, and then United were flagged for offside as Blaine Morrison tapped the ball into the net.

The game started with a major let-off for the home side in only the second minute. Melly's shot was deflected for a corner, and when the kick came in to the box, it fell to Colin Nixon three feet in front of an open goal and unmarked, but somehow in trying to pass the ball into the net he put it wide of the post to the amazement of all. United did not spurn this lifeline and hit the front four minutes later. The tigerish Heaney won the ball in a tackle and passed to Heaney, who crossed into the box. Cairnduff came for the ball but slipped, allowing Blaine Morrison the simple task of tapping home with glee from five yards.

Bangor did not panic, and Boylan had a half-chance when he won a corner in the 10th minute, though the opportunity promised more. But United had a much better chance in the 12th minute  when McIvor and Friel linked well for the latter to be through on goal only to be brilliantly tackled as he was about to pull the trigger.

The equaliser, when it came in the 25th minute, also had an element of the unusual. A corner from the right was met by Cooling, who casually hooked it over his shoulder and the ball was nestling in the back of the net before McGraw could move. Two minutes later, the visitors nearly scored again through Morrow's hanging cross that McGraw thought was going in, and pushed the ball out from below the bar. United hit back, as the imperious Ryan Mullan was given the freedom to run three quarters of the length of the pitch before setting up Friel, whose effort was well wide. Just before the half time whistle, Bangor appealed for a penalty without success after a tussle in the box between Ryan Mullan and Morrow.

Bangor's half time substitute Thomas Lambe went close with an effort in the 50th minute. In response, McIvor was able to dart into the box and put a wicked low cross that went fizzing across the goalmouth, but found no Limavady boot to turn the ball into the net. The winning goal came in the 64th minute through Cooling's penalty, awarded after the referee denied that Ryan Mullan had handled the ball inside the box. There was consternation and protest from the home team when the official pointed to the spot, but Cooling was calmness personified as he smashed the ball into the left hand corner.

United were incensed, and their sense of grievance was heightened five minutes later when a fine move ended with Morrison tapping the ball in from another excellent McIvor cross, only for the forward to be adjudged offside — almost certainly incorrectly. Both sides went flat out for another goal in an end-to-end finale, but few clear chances were created. Forsythe had a shot in the 89th minute that was just over, but the home side's frustration boiled over three minutes later, with the Roesiders pouring into the box in numbers, when the referee blew — not for a penalty as some supporters fleetingly hoped- but for full time, just as Friel was about to shoot. Irate players crowded round the official and in the course of their exchange of views about his decision to halt play in mid flow, something was said that resulted in a red card for Friel.

United can take a lot of positives from this performance, for although Bangor had more possession and certainly more chances, the home side were much more resilient than they have been in recent weeks. There are signs of a bit more bite in the centre of the park, and if the forwards can only find the target, there is every chance of ascending the table.

 

Championship Two

Newington YC 1 Armagh City 0

This much anticipated top- of-the-table match was played in near perfect conditions at Seaview. McCarthy was able to field a near full-strength squad with the return from injury of  Cormac Brannigan. The early exchanges did not produce any end product with Sean Adams marshalling his defence, it was only in the tenth minute that Armagh City tested him. A break down the right flank saw a cross into the box, but the resulting shot was ably save by Smyth in the Newington nets. This encouraged Armagh, and within a few minutes, they tested Smyth again, but he again proved up to the task.

Newington then started to get a foothold on the game and after some neat interchanges in midfield with McDonnell spraying some inch perfect passes, one of which found the head of Quinn, he headed in down and Majeski slotted home from close range.

Armagh upped the tempo but the Adams, Manning combination was hard to break down, both winning some crunching tackles.

A pinpoint pass by Bradley found Burns who rifled a volley just wide. It was all Newington now, and in the next attack it was Burns again whose shot just missed the upright.

The second half was much more even affair, with little goal action until the last quarter. Two substitutes by McCarthy saw Michael Smith and Sean Cahill brought into the action. Armagh were attacking at will now, and a flying header near the final whistle saw Armagh nearly get level.

 

Banbridge Town 1 Lurgan Celtic 1

It is a sign of how well Banbridge Town have progressed this season when most supporters left Crystal Park disappointed and rueing two points lost instead of one gained. However, it must be emphasised that a highly-spirited Lurgan Celtic side deserved a share of the spoils, especially after fighting a stubborn and well organised rearguard action for the last 40 minutes when they were reduced to 10 men. Glen Waddle had replaced the exam-tied Stephen Jones in Town's midfield, this being the only change to the starting line-up from the Mid Ulster Cup win over Dollingstown. The home side were on the offensive quickly and after three minutes Steven O'Neill got in behind the Celtic defence but keeper Toman made a smart stop to prevent an early Town goal. Adam Pedlow fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box soon after. Celtic, with Raymond Fitzpatrick pulling the strings, were not to be undone and Caolan Campbell had a long drive held by Town 'keeper Stephen Cairnduff. This was a young Lurgan Celtic team packed with determination and as one of their mentors stated, “producing their best display of the season”. Town's Gary Boyle, having a fine game as “target man,” flicked a header onto the in-rushing Steven O'Neill but the number nine delayed and was robbed by an alert defender. Cairnduff was at his best in the 15th minute to push a stinging Marshall shot round for a corner and nine minutes later, produced another good save from Fitzpatrick after O'Hara had made a strong forage into the Banbridge area. Celtic were certainly belaying their league position. In the 31st minute, Town's Johnny Kernoghan fired over a good cross which was well met by the head of Steven O'Neill whose strong finish was superbly saved by Toman. Ex-Town player Stevie McArdle shot wildly over from 25 yards in the 37th minute and seconds later, Town's Mattie McCartan headed across an empty goal, but to his dismay no-one could put the finishing touch to it. The deadlock was broken a minute before the interval when the visitors took the lead. It was Toland who grabbed the goal when he gathered a ball on the left wing and slotted past the advancing Cairnduff and into the corner of the net. Fitzpatrick almost doubled the lead when he rattled Town's bar after beating three home defenders on the half time whistle. Town opened the second half strongly and should have equalised in the 47th minute when Steven O'Neill rose unmarked to a great Adam Pedlow cross only to smash his header against 'keeper Toman and the rebound was cleared under pressure. Six minutes later, Celtic were rocked when they lost Cochrane for a second yellow card and were reduced to 10 men. Banbridge began to turn the screw and exerted a lot of pressure on the fighting hoops. A double substitution saw Conor Downey and Mark Teggart enter the fray to replace Steven O'Neill and Johnny Kernoghan, and within minutes they began to make an impact. A defence- splitting ball from Mattie McCartan saw Mark Teggart cross for the unmarked Conor Downey, who blasted over from five yards. Town were now putting Celtic under increasingly more pressure, but often their final ball was letting them down. Paul Walsh replaced Glen Waddell in the 71st minute and was soon in the thick of things, blazing over from a 30-yard free kick. The game was now being played in the Celtic half of the pitch with man-of-the-match Martin Buchanan joining in a lot of Town's attacks as well as his fellow back-four colleagues. Finally, in the 81st minute, Town's equaliser came. Paul Walsh sent Adam Pedlow racing down the left and this time Conor Downey made no mistake getting his head to the cross and netting to level matters. Gallant Celtic fought back and it took a great tackle from Stephen Greene to stop a dangerous Stevie McArdle charge on goal. Toman then came to Celtic's rescue in he 85th minute when he went full length to push a spectacular overhead kick from Conor Downey out for a corner. There was mayhem in the visitor's goal from the corner but it was scrambled clear and although Boyle, Walsh and Downey had further chances, the final whistle sounded with the sides level after a fine game of football. Banbridge Town's spate of home fixtures continues this Saturday when much improved Portstewart visit Crystal Park for a league encounter (kick-Off 2pm)

Congratulations to Stephen Cairnduff, who was voted Player of The Month for October in the Shoefair Sports sponsored event. On Saturday last we had the great pleasure of welcoming the nephew and two nieces of the late great Jimmy Vage to Crystal Park. They had travelled from England for a short break and naturally took in the place which gave their beloved uncle so much pleasure throughout his lifetime. During a conversation, Gordon Knowles (Jimmy's nephew) told us that he had been coming over to Banbridge for over 40 years to visit Jimmy (at least once every year) and always went to see “The Town” whether they were home or away. Amazingly, he has never seen the Town beaten! I think if Town hit a bad run at any time, Ryan Watson will have to send an S.O.S to Preston for Gordon!

 

Sport & Leisure Swifts 0 Portstewart 1

The first half was a tight affair with few efforts on goal and with both defences very much on top. The players from both sides basically cancelled each other out. Both goalkeepers will have busier games as the season progresses. The game came to life a bit more in the second half with the players warming to their task. Leisure's Jenkins was booked for a foul on McAllister and this helped to wake both teams up. Gallagher had a shot for Leisure which went wide, and Moody hit one for Portstewart, which also missed the goal. Leisure Manager Wilson had made some changes for the game and he brought Corr, McQuillan and Moore on to try and win the game. Their introduction brightened Leisure up but did not lead to a goal. Portstewart seemed to settle for the draw as they subbed both their strikers, but just as the game was heading for the inevitable draw, a mistake by the Leisure right-back McDonnell allowed Moody to take the ball on and drive it past Nugent and so yet again Leisure lose a game in the 93rd minute.

 

Killymoon Rangers 2 PSNI FC 2

The PSNI missed the opportunity to go top of the league, coming from behind twice at a freezing Mid Ulster Sports Arena on Saturday afternoon to claim a point, but it will be the home team who will be the most disappointed.

The visitors started the brighter with a Dunn effort for the home side all to show for after a good flick on from Donaghy. Anderson, down the right, put in an early testing cross for Rainey who claimed the ball well. A ball in from the right had to be cleared away for a corner from Neill and the resulting corner eventually found its way to visiting captain Anderson, but on this occasion, it sailed over the bar.

Anderson had a free kick shave the crossbar before the home side took the lead completely against the run of play. A quick long free kick eventually found its way to Donaghy in the box, who found himself with space and, despite the best efforts of Wilson in the visiting goal, he couldn't keep his shot out and the ball squeezed home. Steele tried to respond instantly for the visitors, but his effort was comfortably saved by Rainey.

Jason Ferry and Dunn tried their luck from range soon after. Ferry's effort was seen wide by Wilson whereas Dunns curling effort from the edge of the area was saved by the goalkeeper. Neill had to be on his toes to clear a Gray corner away from danger before Rainey dealt with a dangerous ball in from Leitch with a fine punch.

Killymoon lost their discipline as both sides picked up bookings and were punished as a result. Winger Anderson's wide free kick was curled into the box and caught Rainey out at his near post and was unable to keep the ball out. Killymoon regained their discipline soon after and Dunn saw a curling free kick saved from Wilson. Young saw a free kick just miss the head of Purvis at the far post, but in an almost carbon copy moments later, the home side took the lead again. This time, Purvis did get on the end of Young's free kick and with power, headed the ball home. That was just after Donaghy missed a great chance to restore the lead for the home side, but his effort was wide.

Instantly up the other end, Rainey again brilliantly punched a dangerous Anderson ball away from danger. The young keeper had to be on his toes again soon after, as that man Anderson again fired an effort towards goal but Rainey clutched the ball into his arms at the second attempt. Young saw an effort from a free kick go wide, before a Steele effort sailed just over the bar.

The home side started the second half brightly and Dunn saw an effort saved by Wilson. Knox for the visitors saw his cross sail over Rainey's bar before the home keeper had to deal with another Anderson free kick with another good punch. The visitors equalised for the second time after Knox got on the end of a Gray corner at the far post to head home. Anderson saw another free kick shave the crossbar moments later, much to the relief of the home side.

Great work down the left from Young enabled him to drill a low cross across the face of the goal and, despite the best efforts of Donaghy, Harkness and Dunn, none of them could get on the end of it. A free kick in from the visitors again was claimed by Rainey in the Killymoon goal. It was a lovely move involving Jason Ferry with a long ball to Donaghy, who laid it off for Hunter, only to see his effort fire yards over the bar. Hoover saw a free kick saved by Wilson before right at the death Greer tried his luck from range, but thankfully for the visitors, it sailed wide

 

Tobermore United 2 Wakehurst 4

Tobermore could have taken the lead twice in this entertaining game before Wakehurst stormed into a three-goal half time lead that could have been four, had they not missed from the penalty spot.

The visitors were playing a neat passing game without really threatening to score, but that changed in the 30th minute, when the unfortunate Gary Donaldson deflected a great cross from Jason Paul into his own net. Five minutes later, Conor Gregg made it 2-0 when he lobbed the advancing Paul Wells from 20 yards.

Steven Lyons almost pulled one back for Tobermore when his header beat Mark Maybin but came back off the cross bar.

Gregg should have made it 3-0 from the penalty spot in the 40th minute, but Wells pulled off a great save. However, the visitors weren't to be denied a third before the break, when Lee McGaughern was given plenty of room inside the box, and he scored from a tight angle.

Tobermore made two changes just after the break that seemed to give them a much needed boost. Sean Heneghan was on the field for less than five minutes when he made it 3-1 from the edge of the box. Ten minutes later with Tobermore in control, the same player made it 3-2 with a similar finish and he was unlucky not to level matters with a header that grazed the outside of Maybin's post.

Gareth McLaughlin also had a great chance to get Tobermore's equaliser but Maybin brought off a superb save to deny him and protect his side’s lead.

Wakehurst weathered the storm and, as happens many times in football, when you don't take your chances you can get punished at the other end, and that is what happened when Greggs’ shot took a wicked deflection, giving Wells no chance, and making the points safe for Wakehurst.

 

Moyola Park 5 Annagh United 2

What looked like a difficult fixture on paper turned out to be a stroll in the Meadow for Moyola. To be fair to both teams, the first half was exciting for both sets of supporters. Annagh keeper Wright pulled off a great save for Walls in the 10th minute, and a minute later at the other end, Stretton had a great chance but shot well over the bar. The same player forced a good save from Farnium before Annagh took the lead in the 16th minute. A nothing-ball into the Moyola defence was somehow miscontrolled by Waddell, and Nesbitt nipped in to set Campbell up with a simple tap-in. Kenning equalised for Moyola in the 30th minute from the penalty spot after McQuillan had been fouled by Pedan. Four minutes later, Kenning had a header pushed onto the post and out for a corner by Wright. Wright again was called on to make a great save from Dowie. Moyola took the lead in the 43rd min ute when Walsh hit a great 30- yard shot following a Moyola corner. Kenning put Moyola 3-1 up in injury with a fierce shot from just inside the penalty area.

Moyola took control in the second half, and Walsh put the match to bed on the hour with his second and Moyola's fourth goal. Annagh attempted a fight- back but it was Moyola who scored again in the 85th minute through Kelly. The Portadown side scored a second just before the end.

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