NIFL Championship round-up, January 2
All the latest from Championship One and Two clubs:
Ballyclare Comrades 0 Ards 2
Ards proved too good for Comrades and, as a result, the win extended their lead at the top of NIFL Championship One. The visitors stamped their authority on the game with an early goal, when Gary Dorrian produced a crisp first time finish from seven yards, after getting on the end of a low ball into the box. The rest of the first half was evenly balanced in terms of possession, but Ards continued to look the more dangerous side. Eight minutes into the second half, Ards added to their lead when James Cully powered in a header from seven yards following a corner. Comrades continued to have a fair amount of the ball, but struggled to find a way past a solid Ards defence. Indeed, Jonah Nicholl was the busier of the two‘keepers, producing a number of good saves to prevent the visitors from adding to the score.
Newington YC 5 Dollingstown 2
On 15 minutes, Dollingstown won a corner, when the home keeper pushed Glen Hand's effort over the bar, but Newington broke out with pace and Neil King was unable to get cover on quick enough allowing the winger through to place his shot low into bottom corner. On 35 minutes, DFC were back on level terms when the Newington keeper miss-kicked a back pass allowing Glen Hand to score from a very acute angle. A minute later, Newington were reduced to 10 men following a rash tackle and Dollingstown took advantage going in front for the first time when Thompson held off two defenders to score just before half time. The second half was all Newington. On the hour mark, Dollingstown were also reduced to ten men when Moffett received a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity and Newington equalised from the resultant penalty, and they went in front two minutes later when their centre-back headed home. On 75 minutes, it was 4-2 when the outside right simply walked through the visitor's defence, and on 78 minutes, it was all over when the keeper was chipped from 25 yards.
Banbridge Town 1 Coagh United 2
Banbridge Town’s New Year got off to a disappointing start on Saturday when their eight-match unbeaten run was ended by a 2-1 home league defeat to second bottom team Coagh United. On nine minutes, Town took the lead when Kevin Anderson played a ball over Coagh defence and Conor Downey beat the offiside trap and raced through on goal before blasting a shot past Hassan. On 25 minutes Waddell brought down Gillespie just outside the 18-yard line. Gillespie’s free kick wasn’t held by Town’s keeper Tuda Murphy, and the ball rebounded off his chest and Coagh’s Fintan Kelly was quickest to the loose ball and rifled into the roof of the home goal. Coagh went ahead on 40 minutes, when they found space on the left and Kelly’s pass to Quigg evaded right back James Wilson, allowing the winger a clear run on Town’s goal and his curled shot gave Murphy no chance. With 20 minutes left, Ryan Gourley displayed some brilliant skill which almost drew Town level and with five minutes left, Jones replaced Gourley, as Town tried to find an equaliser, but Coagh held out for a vital three points.
Intermediate Cup Round Two
Loughgall 2 Moyola Park 3
Moyola Park travelled to Lakeview Park to play against Loughgall in the second round of the Intermediate Cup. Despite heavy rainfall the previous days, the game was given the go ahead on a soft soggy pitch. There was a good crowd gathered to watch the first game of 2016 for both sides. Moyola began to create chances and it was no surprise that they took the lead in the 20th minute. A mistake by Buchanan in the Loughgall nets, and the ball fell to Gregg who seized the opportunity. Loughgall equalised on 26 minutes, when a great through-ball allowed Wesley Boyle to race down on goal to set up strike partner Warner Mullen with a tap-in from close range. Then in the 41st minute, Moyola Park took the lead from a corner when McIlhatten headed the ball beyond Buchanan. Moyola scored a third in the 65th minute when a long cross was met by the head of Gregg and his looping header dropped in at the back post leaving Buchanan no chance. In the 79th minute, Loughgall were awarded a free kick, 25 yards from the Moyola goal. Mullen stepped up and curled the ball past Cassidy to leave the score at 3-2. Moyola held on to progress to the next round for an away tie against Ards.
Glebe Rangers 1 Limavady United 1 aet (0-0 after 90 minutes)
Glebe win 4-3 on penalties
Limavady United came back down to earth with a bump on Saturday, as they were dumped out of the Intermediate Cup by neighbours Glebe, who were worthy winners in a dour contest which only came to life in extra time. But the Roesiders can have no-one to blame but themselves, as they failed to hold onto their lead, before top scorer Cathair Friel’s dinked penalty went straight into the hands of the Glebe keeper to send the home side through. There were no goals in regular time, so 20 minutes of extra time was played. The deadlock was finally broken in the 97th minute, when Friel ‘s perceptive through-ball found McMullan inside the box, and he drew the keeper before coolly slotting the ball home. United's tails were up, and just before the break should have put the game to bed, as Owens had a trademark long range free kick thump off the outside of the post with Fulton beaten. However, United were made to pay for this miss two minutes later, as Glebe grabbed an equaliser from a free kick of their own. From outside the box, a long ball was lofted in to Shepherd, who had peeled off his marker to steer the ball past Wells with a deft flick to stun the visitors.The penalty shoot-out will be remembered for Friel’s misguided attempt to outfox the keeper, but it would be unfair to blame him for Limavady's exit, as too many of their players were off their game.