Mid Ulster round-up, February 1
Carrick Rangers 3 Dergview 1
Both sides had to contend with the torrential rain at Inver Park, where goals from Anthony Lagan, Ben Roy and a late header from substitute Graeme Arthur gave Rangers all three points. Adam Lecky provided the response for the visitors with a penalty early in the second half.
Carrick got off to a dream start with just four minutes on the clock when the unmarked Lagan volleyed home Damien Curran's corner from just inside the area. The big centre-back won't score a sweeter goal all season, and it set the tone for an attacking first-half display from the Gers.
Dergview offered precious little in the final third in the opening 45 minutes as Carrick, playing some slick stuff at times, went in search of a second.
Daniel Kelly, given the nod in the starting 11 in place of top scorer Richard Gibson, saw his 25th minute long-range shot tipped onto the bar by Alan Buchanan.
Gary Haveron's men doubled their advantage on the half-hour when Roy, in space in a central position outside the box, found the net with a right-foot drive which zipped past Buchanan into the bottom right-hand corner.
Dergview pulled one back from the penalty spot nine minutes after the restart; midfielder Lecky side-footing the ball to Simon Steele's right after Aaron Arkinson was felled by Lagan.
Skipper Aaron Harmon missed a glorious opportunity to restore Carrick's two-goal advantage when he skewed a close-range shot wide after doing all the hard work with a marauding run from the middle of the park.
But veteran Arthur rounded things off six minutes from time when he rose at the back post to nod home Curran's corner.
Armagh City 3 Sport and Leisure Swifts 0
Armagh City ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against a brave Sport and Leisure Swifts side at Holm Park on Saturday to extend their unbeaten home run to 21 matches.
At the same time, they moved into joint second spot in Championship Two and closed the gap on leaders PSNI.
It was a frustrating opening half for City, who created plenty of chances but failed to tuck them away.
Striker Steven Murray had three glorious scoring opportunities in the opening half-hour but all went abegging.
In the 34th minute, Armagh left wing-back Ryan McGerrigan unleashed a superb 30-yard effort, but Swifts 'keeper Damien Nugent did brilliantly to push the thunderbolt wide.
City's Matthew Hynds looked certain to find the net just before the break but a last ditch tackle from winger John Donnan managed to keep the game scoreless at the break.
It was a similar pattern of play after the interval, with Armagh pushing forward at every opportunity, only to be thwarted by their opposition.
However, in the 52nd minute, City did break down the determined Swifts when interplay between Murray and Gavin McParland set up midfielder Hynds, who drilled a low 12-yard effort into the corner of the net past the despairing Nugent.
Armagh continued to rack up the chances and during the second period, centre-back Dara Noonan sent three decisive headers well wide.
Despite this, the home side wrapped up the match in the 70th minute when Murray finally found the net with a low 15-yard shot which again gave Nugent no chance.
Swifts tried to rally and Pat McDonnell sent in a rasping 30-yard effort which was superbly pushed over the crossbar by alert City stopper Sean Morgan.
With six minutes remaining, Armagh made their dominance tell with a third score from Murray which was tucked home from close range following a goalmouth melee.
Annagh United 1 PSNI 1
It took just six minutes for the deadlock to be broken in this eagerly awaited encounter as Ashton McDermott's headed effort beat stand-in ‘keeper Shea Campbell from a corner, Jay Gardiners effort going just wide of Wilson's post minutes after.
Stephen Acheson's free kick in the 20th minute saw Wilson save well but Scott McCordick was on hand to draw Annagh level with the rebound.
In the 24th minute, off the pitch affairs spilled over as Annagh manager Dean Smith was sent to the stand for questioning the referee’s decisions, with no fewer than 10 yellow cards throughout.
In the 33rd minute, Adam Nesbitt was through, only to have handled the ball from a McCordick pass while PSNI relied mostly on the long ball to Steele and McDermott.
The game looked a livelier affair in the second half. With a minute played, Adam Nesbitt broke through but Brennan done well to spurn his chances, while in the 53rd minute, Shea Campbell tipped over from a well-placed Holden free kick.
On the hour, it was Nesbitt again through but he shot straight at Wilson and Scott McCordick shot low and wide just after when one-on-one with the PSNI keeper, the same player striking a free-kick straight at Wilson in the 78th minute.
With 10 minutes to play, both teams pushed for a winner. In between a McCordick strike, Kirgan hit the post and again headed against the bar in an attempt to draw PSNI level.
In the 90th minute, it looked like ex-Portadown player Matthew Paget would mark his debut with a goal when one-on-one with Wilson, but the visiting ‘keeper smothered the strike and ensured the league leaders returned up the M1 with a point.
Glebe Rangers 1 Killymoon Rangers 0
Glebe Rangers made it three wins on the trot with this narrow home victory over basement boys Killymoon Rangers on Saturday afternoon and the three points saw them move into the top half of the table for the first time this season.
With influential midfielder Peter Kennoway absent through suspension, the only change saw David McVicker make what turned out to be a short-lived return to the starting line-up.
In difficult conditions, which occasionally bordered on the atrocious, Glebe were the first to threaten when a seventh minute free-kick from Marks evaded everyone except Shepherd. However, the central defender was unable to turn the ball goalwards and the opportunity passed.
Visiting defender Andy Neill came to his team's rescue shortly afterwards when he produced a timely interception to cut out Adam McVicker's cross.
The breakthrough arrived in the 25th minute when a cross from Jackie Morrison was forced against the post by Henry and the ball rebounded across the goal line, where Ian Christie gleefully tucked it in.
Glebe continued to press and a fine move involving Hume and Henry saw Chris Nicholl presented with an opportunity to double his side's lead, but the striker was denied by a point-blank save from Gary Stewart.
As half time approached, the hosts suffered a blow when David McVicker received a straight red card for an off the ball offence spotted by the linesman.
The visitors began the second period in determined fashion and Stephen McElhatton provided a couple of dangerous corners which failed to find a taker. Stung into action, Nicholl's effort from a Marks free-kick was blocked but, when the ball broke to Christie, the goal hero of the first half blazed wide past the far post.
Killymoon were failing to trouble Kane and only a great save from Stewart prevented Henry's header from McVicker's fine cross finding the net. Ryan Marks, continuing his recent superb form, released dangerman Henry in the 71st minute and again the striker was denied by the impressive Stewart.
As the minutes ticked by, Killymoon at last began to threaten and substitute Gareth McCaw headed wide from another McElhatton corner, before an almighty scramble in the home penalty area eventually saw Shepherd clear the danger without the visitors being able to test Kane.
With time running out, Adam McVicker found gaps in the Killymoon rearguard but was unable to take advantage on either occasion as was substitute Ryan Gurney, who curled over after good work from Henry.
And in time-honoured fashion, this failure to put the game to bed almost came back to haunt Glebe but Neill's last minute lob was just too high and with it went the Cookstown men's hopes of snatching a point.
Wakehurst 2 Banbridge Town 4
Wakehurst returned to League action following their Intermediate Cup exit to face Banbridge Town at Mill Meadow.
The 5-0 defeat to Immaculata seemed a long time ago as Wakehurst were quickly out of the blocks, putting the visitors immediately on the back foot and after five minutes.
Conor Gregg's pace took him past Stephen Crowe, only for the Banbridge defender to trip him up inside the penalty box. Mark Crawford duly dispatched the spot kick past keeper Stephen Cairnduff.
Conor Gregg was causing the Banbridge defence all sorts of problems and he probably should have made it 2-0 in the ninth minute, but shot weakly after working a good opportunity for himself.
It was all Wakehurst at this stage and the visitors were struggling to get into the game. After a good run and cross from Crawford on the right in the 23rd minute, Conor Gregg made no mistake, despite the attention of three defenders, slotting his shot past Cairnduff from eight yards.
This second goal brought a positive reaction from the visitors and Damian McParland's crisp shot from 20 yards flew just wide, quickly followed by a similar effort from Gary Boyle.
Shannon Drainey went off injured and was replaced in the 31st minute by Martin Buchanan and the substitute certainly added some stability to the visitors back four.
However, Wakehurst maintained their two goal advantage thanks to a goalline clearance from Connor Ross, who chested away Boyle's shot from 12 yards, following a corner from their right, three minutes before the break.
Banbridge were a different team from the outset as they set about reducing the deficit and were rewarded in the 53rd minute, substitute Buchanan getting on the end of a cross to fire past Ryan Curry in the Wakehurst goal.
Five minutes later, Curry did well to parry a shot from Conor Downey and Mark Teggart could have levelled the match, but shot wildly over the crossbar. The same player made no mistake in the 64th minute, rising in front of Curry to glance his header into the net.
Three minutes later, the visitors fightback was complete as Curry couldn't hold onto Boyle's shot and Downey was quick to pick up the pieces and place the ball in the unguarded net.
But they still weren't finished and after Ryan Gregg had given away a needless free-kick, Johnny Kernoghan stepped up to curl a delicious shot into the top corner of the net from all of 30 yards with 16 minutes to play.
The home team just couldn't get into the game second half as they huffed and puffed laboriously throughout the 45 minutes without creating one opportunity and the visitors took all three points.
Ballyclare Comrades 3 Dundela 2
Despite having conceded home advantage in this tie, due to Dixon Park being waterlogged, it was Comrades who came out firing on all cylinders.
They created several very good chances, but were wasteful in front of goal until the 20th minute when they took a deserved lead, Johnny McClurg finishing from five yards after good work from Kyle Agnew.
Rather against the run of play, Dundela equalised in the 34th minute when Michael Halliday hooked the ball home from eight yards, after a long throw into the box caused danger.
The second half was a rather tighter affair until Comrades hit the front again, when Denver Gage headed in at the far post from an Andrew Simms corner.
The visitors looked to have sealed the win on 79 minutes, when Kyle Agnew finished neatly from nine yards, after being set up for the chance by excellent play from Andrew Doyle.
However, Dundela made it a tense finish when they reduced the deficit in the 84th minute, with Owain Beggs slotting home from 10 yards after a long ball eluded the Comrades defence.
Despite this, Comrades were able to see out the rest of the game to gain a merited victory.
Bangor 4 Ballywalter Rec 1
Championship One leaders Bangor made hard work of their game against Amateur League 1B side Ballywalter Rec at a wind and rain-swept Bangor Fuels Arena.
Indeed, it was the visitors who grabbed the lead in the tenth minute when a 25 yard free-kick by midfielder Ross Kelso took a deflection in the crowded area to give home ‘keeper Darren Gibbons no chance to save as the ball flew into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Bangor pushed forward, putting together a series of five or six man passing moves, but there was no final product, with striker Stephen O'Neill side-footing a Jordan Forsythe cross just over from 10 yards in the 16th minute.
In the 35th minute, Ballywalter keeper David Moore, who had an excellent game, blocked a goalbound 12-yard drive by O'Neill, but two minutes later the ‘keeper had no chance as O'Neill was in the right place to drive home from 15 yards after Moore had blocked an Andy Hall drive.
Bangor grabbed the lead in the 63rd minute after an inter-passing move between Mark Cooling and O'Neill opened up the visitors' backline for Jordan Forsythe to slam home from 12 yards.
Winger Forsythe was again on the mark eight minutes later as he got on the end of a defence-splitting cross from Ethan Boylan to hit low from 10 yards.
Almost straight from the kick-off came Bangor's fourth and final goal when O'Neill netted his second, knocking home Andy Hall's cross from the right from four yards at the far post.
Limavady United 0 Moyola Park 1
When these teams last met, in the Craig Cup semi-final, Moyola administered such a football lesson that manager Timmy Dixon stepped down.
Since then, Neil Mullan has brought in a host of new players, and there have been flickers of improvement, but on Saturday Moyola again knocked the Roesiders out of a cup.
Straight from the kick-off, Moyola seemed to have adapted better to the heavy pitch and the biting wind. Darren Walls had the first chance as early as the third minute, when a long ball from deep right fell to him unmarked on the edge of the box, but his shot was horribly weak and straight at McGraw.
Only a minute later, McConnell had a fierce effort beaten round the post by the ‘keeper.
United did gradually stem the flow of attacks, but were not creating any chances. In the 18th minute, another cross was whipped in from the left, McGraw failed to gather, then the defence was unable to clear, resulting in Dowie turning on a sixpence and screwing a snap shot just wide of the post.
United finally registered an effort in the 23rd minute, with McFadden putting a long-range effort from distance well wide. Morrison, who was proving United's most effective attacker, put in a great cross for McClean, but he got his angles all wrong and headed well wide
Even at this stage, the game looked destined to be low scoring, and this impression was confirmed in the 34th minute, when Dowie darted into the box went round McGraw and from an acute angle fired across the open goal.
He squandered another chance four minutes later, when a long free fell to him in the six yard box, but this time he was foiled when McGraw stuck out a leg for a fine instinctive block.
It seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would score, and they nearly did in the 40th minute, when ex-Roesider Michael Walsh had a snapshot from the edge of the box smash off the bar with McGraw rooted to his line. United were mightily relieved to go in level at the break.
The second half began with United keen to get back into the game, and Morrison provided another excellent byline cross for McClean, who was right on the goalline to score when Farnior missed the ball, but in keeping with the game, he could not connect.
At the other end, Gallagher forced a top class save out of McGraw in the 53rd minute. A minute later, Dowie ghosted into the box but blazed the ball over the bar from point blank range, as United's defence was exposed again.
But it got even worse for the diminutive striker 60 seconds later with the goal at his mercy following another cross not cleared, as he scuffed his shot horribly wide.
United were on the ropes, and should have gone behind on the hour, but Scoltock hooked the ball off the line as McGraw was stranded following a run down the left. Dowie then collected McConnell's pass and shot at McGraw, who
gathered at the second attempt.
United had a brief respite, during which Lee Harkin had a long-range effort pushed over the bar by Farnior, but the shot lacked power. Then, McClean wasted a chance from 20 yards as he was through on goal, but his effort lacked conviction.
Extra time was looming, as Dowie had a free header in the 84th minute but embarrassingly he put it over the bar.
It almost seemed as if neither side wanted to score, but two minutes later he made ample amends as he was on hand to tap in McConnell's cross, after United's ponderous defence was again bamboozled by the nippy Moyola forwards.
With less than five minutes left there was no time for United to come back, bar a Lee Harkin shot from close-range following a good run.
Belfast Telegraph Digital