Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Championship round-up, September 20

All the latest from Championship One and Two:

Championship One

Armagh City 0 H&W Welders1 

Armagh City were unfortunate not to take something out of their Holm Park clash with Belfast Telegraph Championship 1 leaders Harland and Wolff Welders on Saturday.  

The visitors started much the brighter and had two clear-cut scoring chances early on, with the best falling to the luckless Michael McLellan, while the experienced David Rainey was a constant threat. 

As the half progressed City found their feet and Stephen Murray, Philip Donnelly and Eamon Kelly all had half-chances but, to be fair, the solid Dougherty was rarely troubled.  

Just after the break, a lightning raid by City resulted in Andy Moore heading the ball across the Welder's six-yard box and Murray swooping to blast home. But an assistant referee raised his flag to rule the effort offside.

Immediately, the Belfast side hit back and went close again at the back post. This warning was not heeded and, on 60 minutes, Armagh paid the price.  

A ball into the box found Ryan Deans who swivelled and fired a low shot into the opposite corner of the net just eluding City stopper Niall Geoghegan.  

After this score City found their best form and set up a series of dangerous attacking raids.  

Their efforts seemed to have paid off on 77 minutes when Shea McGerrigan blasted a low shot under Dougherty to find the back of the net. But, once again, the same assistant ref raised his flag for off-side.  

The Welders, however, held out for the win, with most of the plaudits going to their impressive central defensive partnership of William Armstrong and Paul Dickson. 

 

Bangor 3 Lisburn Distillery 2  

Leading 3-0 and looking like comfortable winners with eleven minutes left, Bangor were made to sweat as the Whites scored twice in five minutes to narrow the gap to one goal with six minutes left on the watch. However, there were no real goal chances at either end, and the points went to the home team to put them in third place in the table.  
 
Bangor, who always looked that little bit slicker, took the lead on 22 minutes when veteran Andy Morrow was on the spot to head home a looping cross from the right by winger Andy Hall from five yards into the left hand corner of the net.  
 
The closest the visitors came to an equaliser was on 32 minutes when home right back Andy Long just got his head to a rasping 35-yard drive by Distillery left back Nial Derry to deflect the ball past the left upright.  
 
Bangor doubled their lead on 48 minutes. A slip by visitors' defender Ciaran Burns on the edge of the area allowed Andy Hall to run onto the ball and pass the ball into the net past a helpless Ryan McBride in the Whites' goal.  
 
The home team were now calling the shots and Mark Cooling and Jordan Forsythe both went close before a 22-yard drive by Richard Gibson flew into the top left hand corner, giving keeper McBride no chance to react.  
 
The visitors were thrown a life-line on 79 minutes when two subs combined. Robbie White dived low to head Ryan Corrigan's cross from the left off the crossbar and into the net from six yards.  
 
On 84 minutes referee, Peter Mcgrath pointed to the spot after home skipper Colin Nixon handled a low cross ball from the right by sub Sean Southam. Robbie White scored his first goal for the Whites as he slammed the penalty into the bottom corner of the net.  

 

Larne 3 Dundela 0 

On paper, it looked like a tricky game as Larne faced Dundela but the Reds completely dominated the 90 minutes, running out 3-0 winners.  

Delighted Inver Park boss Davy McAlinden said: “The scoreline was a fair reflection of the game and, in truth, we could have won by more. I thought early on it was going to be one of those days but we had to believe it would come. 

“We kept creating chances and missing them and then Ciaran Murray produced a piece of magic. We knew they would come back at us but everyone on the park did well. We have a lot of ability in the squad and their hard work was rewarded today.” 

Larne went ahead on 31 minutes when the in-form Murray ran onto Paul Maguire’s pass and drove a low shot into the net. Despite dominating proceedings, the fans had to wait until the 77th minute for the second but it was worth it when it arrived. 

Ross Davison picked out Murray with a 60-yard pass and the striker thumped an unstoppable shot past the keeper.  

Murray was also involved in the third goal. He raced clear of the Dundela defence then unselfishly set it on a plate for Thomas Robinson to side-foot into the net. 

A trip to The Oval to face Glentoran is next up for Larne in Tuesday night’s County Antrim Shield first-round tie.  

“We will check on the wounded after today and go there to give a good account of ourselves, added McAlinden. “We were very limp at Coleraine but we have to go and enjoy ourselves. Ballyclare have beaten Linfield already so you never know.” 

 

Carrick Rangers 1 Ards 0 

Carrick Rangers made it three wins on the spin in Championship One as they edged past Ards in a tense encounter at Taylor’s Avenue. 

Miguel Chines scored the only goal of a closely-fought game to bag all three points for Gary Haveron’s men. 

The first 45 minutes served up very little in terms of entertainment but Carrick did have the edge.

Centre-back John Convery was presented with an unexpected chance for Ards midway through the first half but his snapshot was saved by Brian Neeson.  

At the other end, Chines was inches away from connecting with Kyle Cherry’s impecabbly delivered corner. The slightest of touches would surely have seen the net rippling and Carrick in the lead. 

But Chines, the hat-trick hero from last week’s Steel Cup win over Distillery, didn’t have to wait long to break the deadlock. On 39 minutes, cool and composed as you like, he calmly steered the ball into the bottom corner with the inside of his left foot. 

Early in the second half Ards’ number nine, Josh Cahoon, fired wide before Chines uncharacteristically did likewise at the other end when one-on-one with Graeme McKibbin. 

Ards, knocking on the door for an equaliser, almost came up with the goods when Ciaran Donaghy failed to clear and the ball came all the way across the box to the unmarked John Dougan but his effort was saved by the legs of Neeson. 

Cahoon then went agonisingly close to levelling matters when he headed over from close range after Convery had set him up met Dougan’s raking free-kick. 

For Carrick, it was a case of what we have we hold and they defended well to keep Niall Currie’s men out to claim a big three points. 

 

Dergview 5 Ballyclare Comrades 3 

Deadly double act Cathal McShane and Darren Higginbotham struck braces apiece to maintain Dergview's winning home record at Darragh Park on Saturday. 

Striker Chris Trussell shocked the hosts with a second minute goal but Richard Clarke's men hit back in devastating fashion with McShane and Higginbotham netting to dramatically turn the tables at the break. 

Higginbotham, with a classic finish, made it 3-1 seven minutes into the second period, raiding right-back Philip Wallace then added a fourth before McShane bagged his second and his side's fifth with some 20 minutes remaining. 

By then, Comrades had been reduced to 10 men when skipper Adam McCart was dismissed for a second yellow, although the visitors fought to the bitter end, a Simon Magowan penalty and spectacular long range hit by replacement Joel Cooper adding respectability to the final scoreline. 

The home side made a disastrous start when, with barely two minutes on the clock, possession was surrendered cheaply in midfield. Kyle Agnew swooped on the breaking ball and duly ushered Trussell down the left channel to smash low and hard across home goalkeeper Jack Boggs and inside the far post. 

That rocked Dergview back on their heels and, in truth, the hosts failed to gain any real composure until midway through the first half when Gareth Falconer, Blaine Burns, Higginbotham and Aaron Arkinson combined on the left to release Adam Lecky but Comrades stopper Paddy Flood was sharply off his line to win the race for the ball. 

Moments later, the hosts were forced into a change when new signing McShane replaced the injured Stephen Sheridan. 

And the young substitute wasted little time in making his mark. On 38 minutes right-back Wallace won a challenge with Trussell, played the ball into the feet of McShane who rolled his marker on the edge of the box to fire a low shot inside Flood's left hand upright. 

Shortly afterwards, McShane fired goalward again, in the wake of excellent play by Sproule and Arkinson, but on this occasion, Flood turned the ball around the base of his left post. 

The Ballyclare net-minder was however beaten a second time on the stroke of half-time when Sproule released McShane to round visiting left-back Buckley and whip in a dangerous low cross which Higginbotham turned home first time at the near post. 

Higginbotham was on target again seven minutes after the restart. Arkinson picked apart the Ballyclare defence with a perfectly-weighted pass and the former Ballinamallard striker showed all his prowess by steering the ball instinctively past Flood. 

Dergview now had the measure of their opponents and the visitors must have suspected it wasn't going to be their day when Wallace's cross-cum-shot from the right sailed over Flood's head and under his crossbar. 

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors as skipper McCart received a second yellow for taking out Sproule in full flight. 

Magowan did pull a goal back from the penalty spot after Lecky was adjudged to have tripped substitute Cooper, however the hosts finally extinguished the visitors' challenge when McShane stepped past his marker to finish clinically from 16 yards. 

Still there was time for Comrades to have the last word as Cooper turned sharply to fire an unstoppable 25-yard drive to the top right hand corner of Boggs net.

 

PSNI 0 Donegal Celtic 3 

Despite still being early days both teams were chasing the vital three points.  

Once again Jamesy Kirk was forced into changes with his back four.

First on the scoreboard were Donegal Celtic, when a header by the PSNI left back, Simon Robb flew over the head of David Harrison and into the net. Despite this setback, the police played very attractive football and it was no surprise when Gareth McLaughlin connected with a cross from the left and equalised from six yards out.  

The police went in at half time full of confidence. It wasn't to last long. Within 30 seconds of the restart, DC went back in front. Now chasing the game, the police were unlucky not to get back on level terms, sub Darren Bell coming closest. With minutes remaining DC put the game beyond question, scoring again.

 

Championship Two

Moyola Park 5 Portstewart 2 

Before the start of the game, a minute's silence was observed in memory of James Barrow, the father of Moyola Park player Conor Barrow.   

Jason Paul opened the scoring in the third minute when his shot was deflected by a Portstewart defender past Joel Madison.

Just before the half hour mark, Paul doubled his tally when from a Deane pass he cut inside a defender and sent a rasping shot into the top corner of Madison's net.

Two minutes later, Maurice Curtis headed the ball back towards Farniok and in a goalmouth scramble, Portstewart had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Eddie Ferguson.

Ryan Doherty's 20-yard shot forced Farniok to make a good save in the 34th minute. Seconds later, Doherty made no mistake when he fired the ball into Farniok's net to reduce the arrears.

One minute before the interval, a Curtis corner kick from the right was headed back across the visitors' goal by Steven McQuillan to Deane who headed past Madison to regain Moyola Park's two-goal lead at the interval.  

The final 10 minutes of the game saw a flurry of activity. Eight minutes before the final whistle, substitute Aaron McGowan edged the visitors back into contention when he rattled David McClements' pass into the Moyola Park net.

However, Mervyn Pattison's men restored the two-goal lead when Gallagher provided the pass for Walls to shoot past Madison.

The final goal of the game came in time added-on when Walls made good ground down the left wing before setting David Paul up to score his side's fifth.

With four wins and one draw from the opening five games in the NIFL Belfast Telegraph Championship Two, Moyola Park have a three-point advantage over second-placed Lurgan Celtic.  

 

Queens University 0   Lurgan Celtic 0 

Queen’s came close to opening the scoring in the first minute when a cross from the right wing found Ryan Murphy but his effort was well blocked by Lurgan Celtic keeper Michael Goff. Gradually the visitors got on top and had two headed chances in quick succession for approached Queen’s had a series of good crosses into the box but no one was able to finish them. 

Queen’s played better in the second half but had a let off in the 55th minute. A free on the edge of the box was awarded against Queen’s keeper Declan Brown for carrying the ball out of the penalty area. Niall Lavery’s low drive was turned onto the post by Brown who was fortunate that the ball rebounded into his arms. 

This was a close as either team came. Conor Mulholland made a great run on the left wing and laid the ball into the path of Michael Allison who shot wide from a good position. 

Dollingstown 1 Sport & Leisure Swifts 1 

DFC welcomed ex-Glenavon manager Packie Mc Allister's team Sport and Leisure to Planters Park on a sunny afternoon.

Unfortunately for the Swifts, they lost their captain Gavin Johnston on 35 minutes having battled on bravely from an earlier incident when he went over on his ankle.  
 
DFC then had to replace the injured Michael Denver at half time. Coach Andy Hamilton replaced him at right back.

In the second half, Ritchie Thompson missed three excellent chances which he personally created himself with his electric pace getting behind the S+L back four.  

DFC manager Gary Duke then replaced Ritchie Thompson and Martin Hughes with Colin Cunningham and Ashley Gregg, but within minutes Colin Cunningham had to leave the pitch with a very badly swollen ankle following a rash challenge on him.

This meant DFC had to play the final 15 minutes with only 10 players, but despite this, they continued to press for the opening goal and an Aaron Moffett header from a corner was cleared off the line.  
 
A few minutes later, S+L broke away and Kevin Lynch fired them in front from an acute angle at the back post. Indeed, they could have doubled the lead on 85 minutes but fired wide from 10 yards.  

DFC never gave up and from an Andy Hamilton free kick, central defender Neil King once again scored an important equaliser, and then in the last minute Ashley Gregg delayed his pass to Michael Fegan which allowed the defenders to clear for a corner.  

DFC would like to thank match sponsor Dungannon Plant Sales and also Ian Irwin for ball sponsorship, and wish Jordan Gibson and Ritchie Thompson all the very best as they represent NI this week in Moldova.  
 

Limavady United 3 Banbridge Town 0 

The visitors who were first to threaten, as Downey almost profited from a ball over the top and between the centre halves, but with a clear view of goal, he shot wide. United's neat short passing game was easily snuffed out by the visitors' defence, and their first chance was McCallion's weak long range effort in the 16th minute.

The game ignited in the 20th minute, as Greene clattered into Murray as the full back was advancing on goal, receiving a red card to the consternation of his team mates. However, as he had been cautioned only a few minutes previously, the referee was left with little option. Murray was forced to retire after a few minutes.   

United ought to have taken control of the game, but Banbridge stuck to their defensive duties and chances were few.

Harkin's corner was put just past the post on 31 minutes, and in the next minute Harkin blazed over from a tight angle after connecting with a deep cross from the left. However the best chances of the half fell to Banbridge. Wilson shook off the attentions of his marker in the box, and unleashed a powerful volley at goal, but McGraw did well to fist the ball away. On 41 minutes, Wilson connected perfectly with a long ball to tee up Baird, who came steaming into the box and his well struck effort was heading for the top corner until McGraw got up to push it round the post.  

United had not been able to take advantage of their extra man in the first half, and after the break nearly paid, as Wilson burst down the left and sent over a low cross that had McGraw scrambling, and would have been in the back of the net if Grey had managed to connect with the ball on the goal line.

On 65 minutes, sub Andy Ferris nipped into the box past a defender to side foot the ball past the advancing McConville, but also past the post. Two minutes later, his perceptive pass found Harkin, who had acres of space to cut in from the right to shot low across the keeper and into the net for the opener.

Wilson nearly hit back immediately, with a long range effort that McGraw could not hold, but there was no attacker close enough to profit. Neil Watson came on in the 72nd minute, and with his first touch he almost equalised, getting his head to a corner with a dipping effort which McGraw was at full stretch to tip over the bar.

The game took another twist on 76 minutes, when Ferguson received a second yellow card after reacting to another of the niggly challenges which were breaking up the flow of the game. Perversely, with the sides now equal again, the game went through its best period, as both sides sought the all-important next goal.   

It went to the home side, with three minutes remaining, and again Ferris was the provider, crossing for Heaney to slam the ball home from the edge of box.

With the game deep into added time, Ferris claimed the goal that his contribution deserved, and it typified his play, as he followed a loose ball into the six-yard box and bulldozed his way through, leaving defenders in his wake, and tapping in from a yard out. 

 

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