The PSNI have been handed an unexpected boost in their three way promotion battle with Armagh City and Queen’s University - after they were handed back three points by the league authorities.
The shock announcement came after it was revealed that mid-table Moyola Park had been fielded an ineligible player on five occasions this season, including a 1-0 victory over GAvin Arthur's men.
With two promotion spots up for grabs in the Belfast Telegraph Championship 1, leaders Armagh City are favourites to clinch one of the spots sitting two points off second placed PSNI, with three games in hand.
However the decision has been a huge boost to PSNI’s promotion hopes who now find themselves nine points clear of Queen’s University - having played three more games.
Moyola Park were hit with an eight point deduction on Tuesday, dropping them from sixth to eighth in the table.
While not being critical to the club’s season,the error has had an affect on the rest of the league as both Newington and the PSNI have gained three points, while Glebe Rangers and Lurgan Celtic picked up an additional two points.
(The Castledawson club recorded 1-0 wins over both Newington and the PSNI. They also claimed draws with Lurgan Celtic (2-2) and Glebe Rangers (1-1) while they lost 3-2 to Annagh United.)
Moyola Park goalkeeper Marcin Farniok doesn't think the points deduction has spoilt the club's season.
“It has been a bit of a shock, but it hasn't really affected us at all, to be honest. The team spirit is fantastic at the moment and we're not going to let this mistake ruin things.
“We were told about it a few weeks ago and since then we've won three of our four games, so you can see that we've coped well with the situation.
“Even with the points deduction we are still aiming to finish in the top six. I'm confident we can pull it off.”
The error wasn't spotted until the unregistered player was booked in the Glebe Rangers game.
Glebe Rangers made a similar error in their 3-1 defeat to Tobermore United. That results has been changed to 3-0, although Glebe have not lost any additional points.