Down Area Winter Football League round-up, February 20
In the Premier Division, Moat Park Rangers had the opportunity to extend their lead at the top, due to Greenwell Star's scheduled cup involvement, but they were up against stiff opposition in fourth-placed Comber Young Men, so a close game was expected.
Over recent weeks, Moat Park haven't been as free-scoring as they were in the earlier part of season, but they managed to edge a keenly-contested game 3-2, their second such score-line in successive weeks, to extend their lead at the top to four points, although Greenwell have three games in hand. Last year's champions, Brentwood, who have found some recent form, had the opportunity to firm up further their third-placed position with Comber's defeat, and they duly delivered with a 4-2 away win over Oakfield Breda, who themselves are having a good season so far. Basement club Comber Star's problems continue as they were hammered 11-0 by Bangor Rangers III.
In Division 1, Agape and Clonduff continue their charges for promotion. Agape continued their unbeaten run with a 5-1 win over new-boys Carrowdore YM, but Clonduff kept up the pressure as they easily disposed of Bangor Swifts III 7-0. This looks like going to the wire to see who will win the title and if Agape can go unbeaten in the division similar to last year's champions, 3rd Bangor. Ballygowan, themselves having an excellent season and being only four points behind Agape in third place, were up against 43rd Dundonald and duly delivered the three points in a 5-1 away win to keep their outside challenge going. Newtownards RBL, under new management, were up against third-bottom Castlereagh FC 82, and started off the new reign with a 4-2 win.
In Division 2A, leaders Greenwell Star II had an emphatic 10-0 win over Newtown Forest II to continue their own, and the club's excellent season to date but second-placed and reigning champions Moat Park Rangers II kept up the pressure with a 3-1 win over Agape II to stay within touching distance. In Division 2B, Comber YM II maintained their charge for a swift return to 2A with a 5-2 win over 43rd Dundonald II, but with games in hand, any of the next four teams could still catch and overtake them with positive results.
In the Mervyn Bassett Reserve Team Cup, Abbey Villa IV progressed to the next round with a 3-1 away win over 8th OB II. In the Tommy Murphy Memorial Shield Group matches, there were wins for Brentwood II, Corrymeela II & Clonduff II.
Once again, well done to all clubs worked hard to get their games played.