NIFL Championship round-up, April 2
All the latest from Championship One and Two:
Ards 0 Dergview 2
Ards dominated the first half, with the visitors setting out their stall in defence for a point. Dee McAllister was causing the visitors all sorts of problems down the left, but no-one could get onto his numerous crosses. Ards' best effort saw Arthurs blast in from eight yards only to see the ball strike McComb. Long-range efforts from Brown and McCullough went wide of target, and McMillen's back post header and shot were both saved by Buchanan. Ards suffered a double blow at half time with their two dangerous wingers injured and replaced. As a result, the team stopped pressing and the visitors came more into the game, still a draw looked on the cards but then, in a sharp counter, Patterson outpaced Cully, who pulled him down and was automatically dismissed as last man, while Patterson slotted home the resulting penalty. If this was a blow, minutes later, the knockout punch was delivered, as Ards - now throwing men forward - were caught again on the break, with McManus putting Patterson through to round the keeper and net the second. The Ards bench felt aggrieved, but the truth was that Dergview defended better and took their chances on the break, and as a result, took all three points.
Ballyclare Comrades 3 Bangor 1
Comrades dominated the first quarter of the game and took an early lead, when Chris Trussell shook off the challenges of two defenders before finishing coolly from six yards. Bangor came more into the game from the midway point of the first half and on 38 minutes, they got the equaliser when Stephen Curry fired an excellent shot from 20 yards into the net, giving the keeper no chance. The second half was dominated by the home side. In the 49th minute, they regained the lead, when Chris Trussell and Gary Brown linked up on the right side of the box and Brown produced an expert finish just inside the far post from seven yards. Six minutes later, Comrades doubled their lead, when after a period of pressure, Johnny McClurg played the ball into a dangerous area and Gary Brown was first to react, flicking the ball into the net from five yards.
Loughgall 2 H&W Welders 2
After an evenly-fought and scoreless first half, Loughgall were reduced to ten men in the 51st minute when Gary Henderson was shown his second yellow card of the game. However on 56 minutes, Loughgall capitalised on an error by Welders keeper Michael Dougherty. The ball slipped out of the keeper's hands as he slid across the surface and Jamie Rea, from a tight angle, struck the post. The rebound fell kindly for Warner Mullen, who blasted in from close range. One minute later, the visitors were also reduced to 10 men when Dan McMurray was shown a straight red card. In the 69th minute, Scott Davidson was brought down in the box and he levelled from the penalty spot. Loughgall regained their lead on 76 minutes when Daniel Ryan was fouled just inside the penalty area. Mullen stepped up to confidently fire the ball past Dougherty. The Welders equalised with seven minutes remaining. Davidson’s shot deflected off Mark Carson, wrong-footing goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan and nestling in the back of the net.
Lisburn Distillery 1 Armagh City 9
Stefan Lavery put the visitors ahead after only five minutes, when he tapped home a cross-come-shot from the right by PJ Lavery. Five minutes later, the home side were back on level terms, when Reece Grainger got a clear run on goal and duly slotted the ball past Morgan. City made most of the running, but it was not until after the half hour mark when they regained the lead. Once again, it was Stefan Lavery who capitalised on a defensive error. Just before the interval, Philip Donnelly extended City’s lead, when he scored from close range from a Stefan Lavery pass. Andrew Hoey made it four minutes into the second half, following good build-up play with the final pass once again coming from Stefan Lavery. Hoey claimed the final touch in a goalmouth scramble for his second and his side's fifth. Minutes later, Lavery completed his hat-trick, as he beat the offside trap before slotting the ball home. His fourth came from a fine through-ball from Shea McGerrigan, and his fifth was a superb finish, as he again outpaced the home defence. Shea McGerrigan made it nine for the visitors, when he swept the ball home from a superb Philip Donnelly pass.
PSNI 3 Coagh United 0
When the two teams met earlier in the league, it was Coagh who claimed all three points. With the police pushing for promotion and Coagh fighting to avoid the relegation zone, this game had all the hallmarks of being a fiercely competitive match. Owen Moody put the police in front in the fourth minute, following a well-worked move from the back, and it looked like the writing was on the wall for Coagh, when on 36 minutes, the police lead was doubled when Moody scored his second. It followed a close-range effort from Lukasz Adamczyk, which was brilliantly saved by the outstretched hand of William Hassan in the Coagh goal. Unfortunately for him, the ball fell kindly for Moody, and he made no mistake. The second half got off to an unexpected start when, on 48 minutes, Johnny Young was shown a straight red after a foul on Kyle Agnew, as he made a break through the Coagh defence. Coagh defended well after that, but in the 89th minute, a long pass from Adam Wright found the unmarked Kyle Agnew, who scored the third goal.
Moyola Park 1 Glebe Rangers 0
Moyola had the better of the opening half hour, with Dowie and Waddell firing wide when well-placed. Harris fired over on 13 minutes, when he could have done better, and then the game’s decisive goal arrived on 19 minutes. Dowie latched on to the end of a long ball, evaded Sheppard’s challenge, and fired home into the far corner from a tight angle. The visitors had a chance in the 42nd minute, when Christie fired his shot straight at Maybin, who was seeing a lot of action just before the break. The first chance of the second half saw Carson shooting straight at Maybin as Glebe pushed for an equaliser. Dunlop shot over in the 69th minute, and a minute later, a ball in from Morrison hit off Kelly and went out for a corner. The visitors were now on top ,and in the last ten minutes, Maybin saved well from Dunlop, Dobbin and Spence. At the other end, Dowie headed wide from a Waddell cross, but the last chance of the game fell to the visitors, with the impressive Maybin saving brilliantly to deny Carson earning his team all three points.
Queen’s University 1 Banbridge Town 1
In an exciting start, each team hit the post in the first five minutes. Queen’s midfielder Eoghan Byrne let fly from 25 yards and his low shot rebounded off the post and away to safety. A couple of minutes later, Conor Downey’s low drive across the face of goal went in off the far post to put the visitors ahead. Twice in the build-up, Queen’s defenders had chances to clear the danger but failed to do so. Queen’s deservedly equalised on 40 minutes, when Byrne retrieved a left wing over-hit cross out wide on the right, and his excellent cross was met by James Lavery, who headed from 12 yards, past Tuda Murphy in the Town goal. Queen’s should have had another one soon after when Matt Hughes' corner beyond the far post was headed wide from close range by Matt McManus. The second half was scrappy. Queen’s keeper Declan Brown made a great save with his foot to keep his side in the game. Queen’s dominated the latter stages, and almost won it when Patrick Stuart’s left-foot shot came back off the post with Tuda beaten, and a draw was probably a fair outcome.
Sport & Leisure Swifts 1 Dundela 3
Early pressure on the Swifts defence paid off, when captain Mark McClelland threw himself at the ball to direct a header in at the near post. Dundela’s impressive Colly Smith made an important block as the Swifts threatened, and Darren Gallagher had a great chance to pull them level but screwed his chance wide. Stephen Gourley nearly doubled the Duns’ lead, but placed his shot into the side-netting. The Swifts keeper tipped Scotty Collins’ cross over the ball over the bar and just before the interval, Lee Lenaghan whistled one past the post. Sport & Leisure started the brighter of the two sides, and Sergeant had to be vigilant to keep out a Swifts effort. Lynch then had a strike deflected wide by the Duns defence. The game was turned on its head when the referee showed Kevin Lynch a straight red card. Dundela made their man advantage pay off shortly after, when TJ Murray powered home a header from another set-piece. The Swift’s Gary Largy pulled one back, nodding in from a corner to set up a nervy finish, but Matty Burrows coolly slotted home 10 minutes from time, to seal the points for The Duns.
Dollingstown 0 Tobermore United 0
DFC were denied the lead on two minutes, when from a Lavery free kick, Moffett headed back for Glen Hand to volley home, but the linesman flagged for an infringement. Leading scorer Ritchie Thompson, who had replaced the injured Norton, was immediately in the action with a typical mazy run, which was thwarted at the last minute by a great tackle inside the area. In a crazy five minute period at the start of the second half, Ritchie Thompson was completely out of luck on no fewer than four occasions. First, he hit the bar with a superb volley, then he headed over from a Lavery free kick, followed by another great run and shot which was saved low down at the near post by the keeper, and finally he had an effort cleared off the line. On 85 minutes, the Dollybirds were given that chance to grab all three points, when Aaron Rodgers went down in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Jaime Tomelty took responsibility, but his effort rebounded off the post. DFC were unlucky again on 88 minutes, when Thompson hit the crossbar with a header.