NIFL Championship round-up, November 21
All the latest from Championship One and Two:
Harland & Wolff Welders 3 Ards 4
Ards climbed to the top of the league table after defeating the Welders by the odd goal in seven. The home side took the lead after two minutes through Michael McLellan nodding home from a Middleton cross. Not to be outdone, Ards evened the score a minute later through ex-Welder Craig McMillen. With both sides battling for supremacy, it was the Welders who went in front again when they were awarded a penalty in the 15th minute which was converted by McLellan and Ards defender Greg Hall was red-carded for the incident. Three minutes later, it was Ards levelling things again when Gary Dorrian scored. Dougherty pulled off a good stop one minute later when a shot seemed destined for goal. With the game going from end to end, the next goal arrived after 28 minutes, when Ards went in front from a free kick taken by Tommy Lambe, and his effort was deflected past Dougherty by the foot of Neil Dougan. Middleton and McMurray went close as the first half closed. On the restart, Armstrong saw his effort whizz by the post in the opening minutes. With both teams committed, it was Ards, even without a man short, who appeared to be the more dangerous at this stage with the Welders enjoying plenty of possession but all too often, their final ball letting them down. A second penalty to the Welders after 64 minutes when Armstrong was lifted in the box and McLellan netted to make it a treble hit for him. Certainly good entertainment for the large crowd but still the goals had not dried up. With 18 minutes remaining, Ards notched the seventh goal of the game, and indeed, the winning strike when Danny McKee scored for the visitors.
Donegal Celtic 0 Ballyclare Comrades 4
After an even start, Comrades grabbed the lead in the 14th minute, when Chris Trussell was found by a defence-splitting Stuart King pass and finished neatly from 13 yards, past the out-rushing keeper. Four minutes later, it was 2-0 to the visitors, with Samuel McIlveen converting a penalty, after Chris Trussell had been brought down in the box. In the 31st minute, things got even worse for Celtic, when Marty Bradley was sent off after picking up a second yellow card. Comrades cemented their advantage in the 41st minute, when Michael O’Hanlon produced a delightful lobbed finish over the keeper from the left side of the box. The scoring was finished in the 66th minute, when Michael O’Hanlon nodded in from three yards from a Stuart King corner.
Glebe Rangers 1 PSNI 2
The only Championship Two game of the day saw the police travel to Ballymena knowing that a victory would keep then in touch with the league pace setters, Limavady United and Tobermore United. One eye of the PSNI was on the upcoming Steel & Sons semi-final in six days time. With this in mind, some first team regulars were rested to give others an opportunity to stake a claim. The police opened proceedings the livelier and very threatening. Their second attack on goal after five minutes resulted in a corner. Andrew Simms' effort was met at the near post by the head of Mark McCullagh. Unfortunately McCullagh and a Glebe defender both crashed against the upright resulting in McCullagh having to leave the field of play in the second half with an injured shoulder. The police continued to outplay Glebe and should have gone further ahead, but poor finishing gave Glebe confidence. This confidence was turned into a Glebe goal on 36 minutes, when a quickly-taken free kick by William Beckett caught the police flat-footed and Daniel Brown's effort from 20 yards bounced off the chest of David Harrison in the police goal and rebounded to Richard Dunlop who powered the ball into the back of the police net. The second half saw a much-improved Glebe, and there was little to choose between the teams. Indeed, Glebe hit the police woodwork on two occasions. On 83 minutes, the police received a bit of good fortune when a Joe McWilliams pass found Scott Adams 25 yards out from the Glebe goal. Adams' well struck shot came off the upright, only to strike the arm of the helpless and unfortunate Bryon Moore who could only watch in desperation as the ball rolled over the line to give the police the lead. For the remaining seven minutes, Glebe threw everything at the police, but could not find the equaliser. There was a massive sigh of relief from the visitors at the end when a strong penalty claim by Glebe wasn’t given.