NIFL Championship round-up, February 27
All the latest from Championship One and Two:
Armagh City 4 Ballyclare Comrades 0
City went ahead in the 12th minute following a quick break. PJ Lavery found Stefan Lavery, his shot was blocked, but the ball found its way back to PJ, who fired it into an empty net. The Comrades had a couple of penalty claims turned down and Chris Trussell had the ball in the net, but was adjudged to have been offside. The home side doubled their lead midway through the half, when PJ Lavery found Andrew Hoey on the left and his excellent cross was met by Stefan Lavery at the back post to stroke home. The visitors were awarded a penalty for a foul on the edge of the box. Chris Trussell stepped up but his spot-kick was well saved by Sean Morgan in the City goal, and seconds before the half time whistle, PJ Lavery beat the static Comrades defence to score his second and his side’s third. Minutes from time, substitute Ta Mer Atrach, making his City debut, scored a fourth when he picked up the ball on the left, before driving at the Comrades defence and firing an unstoppable shot past Flood.
Institute 4 Knockbreda 0
The home side deservedly took the lead thanks to McGinty’s fifth in three games on 47 minutes. The midfielder won a challenge some 30 yards from goal, before running at the Knockbreda defence and making no mistake from 25 yards. Soon after, the Waterside men doubled their advantage, when a super run and pass by McGinty found McCrudden inside the box and his side-footed effort from six yards went in off the out-rushing McBride. On 58 minutes, another flowing move was finished off when Jamie McIntyre’s cut-back from the right was blasted home by McGinty. The visitors were reduced to 10 men on 67 minutes. David Johnston was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident and Knockbreda had another man sent off a few minutes later, when Owen Beggs was shown a second yellow card for his challenge on Ciaron Harkin. Midfielder McGinty completed his hat-trick on 71 minutes from the penalty spot, sending McBride the wrong way, after Jamie Dunne was brought down inside the box by Kyle Owens.
Bangor 2 Dergview 0
Two well-executed second half goals from striker Paul McDowell gave Bangor three hard-earned points against a determined Dergview side in a game which was more notable for effort than flowing football. The visitors were dealt a blow on 23 minutes, when forward Nathan Cashel collided with the fence behind the home goal as he chased a loose ball. Cashel was taken off to be replaced by Aaron Patterson. The game remained scoreless at half time but Bangor took the lead on 61 minutes, when Gerard McMullan and Josh Lynch combined on the left to set up a chance for an alert Paul McDowell to slam home a half-volley from six yards. Bangor doubled their lead on 80 minutes, when McMullan sprinted in from the left to set up a chance for McDowell, who gave the keeper no chance from six yards out. Indeed, the home side might have added a third two minutes into added time, but Gareth Beattie's free kick from the right was met by substitute Andy Morrow five yards out, only to be deflected for a corner.
Dollingstown 4 Wakehurst 2
Dollingstown opened the scoring on 25 minutes, after determined work down the right by Hand, who delivered a great cross for Gibson to head home. On the half-hour mark it was 2-0, when, following another strong run down the right by Hand, the ball ran to Thompson, who needed two attempts but doubled the lead. On 40 minutes, the Dollybirds' otherwise outstanding young centre-back Rodgers committed a foul inside the area, and McCartney pulled one back from the spot. DFC appeared to have wrapped the match up on 47 minutes, when a ball over the top was dropped by the keeper and Thompson duly dispatched it home. This should have given Dollingstown the chance to relax and control the game, but the opposition hadn’t read the script, and Alexander tapped home from a corner to make it 3-2. Substitute Dinghy wrapped up the game when he tapped in after great run down the right by Thompson.
Moyola Park 0 Dundela 0
Dundela have become used to battling for points this season and had to work extremely hard for a result again in a goalless draw, despite being reduced to 10 men midway through the second half. Dundela nearly gifted Moyola an opener, when Marc Whitford’s back-pass to Sergeant left the keeper stretching and he could only knock the ball forward to Kris Magill - however Magill could not capitalise, and placed his shot wide of the Dundela goal. Dundela had Scotty Collins to thank after he cleared off the goal-line from a corner. Dundela struggled to break down a strong Moyola defence, but TJ Murray did see his fizzing strike go narrowly over after some neat Dundela passing. Half time substitute Scott Dornan nearly made an immediate impact but Maybin was equal to his effort. Midway through the half, Scott Dornan was shown a straight red card for one of his challenges. Moyola pushed on, but there was a feeling that the game was destined to end in a draw, and it was nothing less than the Duns deserved.
Sport & Leisure Swifts 0 Queen's University 0
The score-line may suggest a dull game, but this encounter was anything but, with both teams going all out for the win. The best chance of the game fell to Queen's after 12 minutes, when they were awarded a penalty. A Pierse Tully tackle upended Patrick Stuart but Mark Prenter blasted his shot against the crossbar, with the rebound being cleared by keeper Michael Magill. Within minutes, Leisure had also struck the woodwork - a Kevin Lynch free kick hitting the inside of the Queen's upright. The home side went close again, as a Declan Moore shot was deflected on to the crossbar and Queen's keeper Deccy Brown did well in clearing Darren Gallagher's follow up. The second half saw the game develop into a midfield battle, as the sides struggled to carve out openings. Despite all their industry, actual clear-cut chances were rare. The two best chances of the 45 came late in the day. With 10 minutes remaining, Brown brought off a wonderful save as he back-pedalled to touch Gary Largey's header over the bar. Then, in stoppage time, Queen's substitute Stephen McDowell almost grabbed all three points, but was denied by Magill's full-length dive.
Newington 0 Limavady United 4
The visitors took the leading the 18th minute, as Conor Harkin played a great ball to his namesake Lee, and he put a cross into the six-yard box, where Cathair Friel nipped in at the back post, scuffed his shot, but the ball trickled into the back of the net. The home side's only effort of the half was a 41st minute deflected shot by Sean McAuley, which had Wells scrambling. United got their insurance goal on 70 minutes, as McFadden ghosted between the centre-halves, picked up a loose ball, and slipped it under the advancing keeper. Things got even better three minutes later, when Curran chased a long ball into the corner before cutting it back to his manager, and although Owens mis-kicked, his effort found Friel at the back post, where he could not miss. On 85 minutes, Curran collected a loose ball and fired into Smyth’s goal.
PSNI 5 Portstewart 0
The breakthrough goal arrived on 36 minutes, when Kyle Agnew crossed from the right wing. Lukasz Adamczyk’s effort was blocked, and the ball fell to McWilliams on the edge of the box, and his effort flew into the back of the net. PSNI had now complete control of the game and it was no surprise to see the lead doubled on 43 minutes, when Mark Anderson stepped up to take a free kick from 20 yards, and with the simplest of passes, the unmarked Dolan buried the ball in the back of the net. Anderson scored the first of a brace on 55 minutes, when a loose ball fell kindly to him on the 18-yard line, and he volleyed it home. Seven minutes later, Anderson was put through on goal by Dolan, and he chipped Joel Madison for goal number four. The scoring was rounded off on the 71st minute, when Stuart Hutchinson intercepted a Portstewart attack in his own half and, as is now his trademark, he made a driving run through the Portstewart midfield and passed to Dolan, whose effort from 20 yards out was unstoppable.
Tobermore United 3 Banbridge Town 1
Tobermore’s Trevor Parkhill almost opened the scoring with less than five minutes on the clock, but his shot was deflected for a corner. The Banbridge defence was having trouble dealing with Tobermore’s constant pressure, and after a number of quick corners in succession, Gary Keane gave Town keeper Stephen Croft no chance in the 14th minute with a fine close-range finish. Banbridge drew level on 55 minutes, when a wicked deflection from Matthew McCartan’s shot beat McGraw. With 25 minutes to go, Tobermore replaced Keane and Duffin with Deane and Stewart, and the fresh legs seemed to swing things back in favour of the home side. With seven minutes left, the hard-working Parkhill got his goal when he beat his marker and Croft at the second attempt, to put the home side in front again. Sub Stewart made sure of all three points deep into injury time, when he expertly volleyed home Deane’s perfect cross from the edge of the box.