NIFL Championship round-up, February 13
All the latest from Championship One and Two:
Donegal Celtic 1 Armagh City 3
Despite their lowly league position, the home side were more than a match for their visitors. Celtic were well organised, and closed down their opponents at every opportunity. It was, however, the home side that broke the deadlock in the 12th minute when a shot from just outside the box was deflected by Paul Brown giving John Connolly in the visitors' goal no chance. Less than two minutes later, good link-up play involving Conor McAnallen and PJ Lavery saw Philip Donnelly guide the ball past McConville and into the corner of the net to bring the sides level. Despite their dominance of the football in the second half, it was not until the final 10 minutes of the game that the visitors finally broke down the well-organised home defence. A quick counter-attack found PJ Lavery, and he slipped the ball home from a narrow angle for his first goal for City. In stoppage time, the result was put beyond doubt, when Philip Donnelly blasted the ball home from the edge of the box for his second of the game.
Dollingstown 1 Banbridge Town 5
Banbridge took the lead on 10 minutes, when a cross-field pass from full-back Ryan Moffett was mis-timed by Adam Walker, and Kris Kingsberry calmly dispatched into the bottom corner. One minute later, it was 2-0 when Gourley volleyed home from inside the penalty area, and to make things worse for Dollingstown, they lost central defender Neil King with a knee injury. On 35 minutes, Jordan Gibson lost possession of the ball in central midfield to Matty McCartan, who set up Gourley to calmly lob the keeper. Dollingstown were second best, but did pull one back before half time through Richard Donaghy. Banbridge’s dominance continued in the second half, and on 56 minutes, McCartan scored from a cross by Kingsberry to give Town an unassailable advantage and duly wrapped up a very impressive win, which lifts them into fourth place in the league, when the evergreen Stuart King produced a wonderful finish into the top corner from yet another Kingsberry cross.
Dundela 0 PSNI 1
PSNI escaped with a narrow victory over a battle-hardened Duns side. Mark Anderson scored the only goal of the game to give the PSNI a boost in their search for the Championship Two title. Dundela will be disappointed not to come away with at least a draw, but can pull plenty of positives from the match, including star performances from Marc Whitford and TJ Murray. In an open, entertaining, but scoreless first half, both sides had chances, but somehow the game remained scoreless at the break. The second half served up the same end-to-end action. The deadlock was finally broken when the Duns defence failed to deal properly with the ball, allowing Anderson to slot home under Sergeant. Agnew spurned a great chance to extend the PSNI advantage soon after, but his strike was well over the crossbar. The Duns pressed hard for an equaliser but Sofley scuffed an effort into Williamson’s arms.
Moyola Park 2 Tobermore United 2
Moyola Park welcomed Tobermore United to the Mill Meadow on Saturday for a rearranged Championship Two game. This was the first meeting of the teams this season and is always keenly contested in front of a large crowd. On 10 minutes, Parkhill’s effort was partially cleared by Black and as the ball came back into the box, McQuillan appeared to head clear, but the referee adjudged that he had handled the ball and pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Keane, who calmly fired the ball past Maybin to give the visitors the lead. Moyola levelled on 37 minutes, when McIlhatton found Dowie, who fired his shot into the corner. Tobermore regained the lead in the 63rd minute, when a corner from Twist was knocked into the net by substitute Keane from close range. Moyola got their second equaliser in the last minute, when a mistake in the Tobermore defence saw Gray fire the ball across McGraw and into the far corner.