NIFL Championship round-up, October 10
All the latest from Championship One and Two:
H&W Welders 3 Dergview 0
The Welders remain on top of the league table after this victory at Tillysburn Park. In a closely-fought first half only a Dan McMurray goal for the home side separated the sides at the half time whistle. Both sides had a few chances, but most of the efforts didn’t cause either keeper many problems. David Rainey went close after 28 minutes and for the visitors, Lynch saw his effort go over the bar. McMurray opened the scoring for the home side with a tidy effort which was the only goal of the first half. Dergview were pushing on in the closing 10 minutes, going for an equaliser. The second half saw the visitors go close with an effort hitting the bar. With 15 minutes gone, the Welders were awarded a penalty kick when Ryan Deans was brought down in the box, and Michael McLellan netted to make it 2-0. Dergview were still creating a few problems for the Welders but, as usual, the solid back four of the Welders stood firm. With only 13 minutes remaining, the Welders made it three from McLellan when he nodded home from a cross from Neil Dougan. With the home team in the driving seat by now, the only thing of note was a red card to Matthew Buchanan for foul play in the 82nd minute.
Ballyclare Comrades 1 Lurgan Celtic 3
After an even opening period, it was the home side who hit the front in the 16th minute, when Randal Reid latched onto a knockdown from strike partner Chris Trussell, and slid the ball past the keeper and inside the post from six yards. Six minutes later there was controversy when Celtic equalised. The referee blew for a corner, assuming a well-struck Celtic shot was being tipped over by keeper Gregg Shannon. However, the ball dropped down in front of goal, and with everyone else having stopped hearing the whistle, Raymond Fitzpatrick knocked the ball into the net from close range. A goal was awarded and stood after the referee had consulted his assistant. On 33 minutes the Comrades couldn’t clear from a corner and, after some ping-pong in the area, Aaron Haire fired the ball into the net from the left side of the six-yard box. Celtic continued to look the more dangerous side, and they sealed a deserved win in the 70th minute - Haire again powering home a header from a corner kick.
Armagh City 3 Institute 1
Armagh City went ahead with less than 30 seconds on the clock. A free kick by Philip Donnelly could only be parried by the visiting keeper and Dara Noonan was on-hand to push home the rebound. Minutes later, Shea McGerrigan had a great chance to double the lead when he was slipped through, but he dragged his shot past the keeper’s left hand post. It was all City in the opening period, with Gallagher in the Institute goal pulling off a point-blank save from a Shea Campbell effort and Noonan flashing a header over from a corner. The visitors equalised on 15 minutes, very much against the run of play, when a defensive header was latched onto by Brown who gave City keeper Connolly no chance. Ten minutes into the half, a fine ball into the box by Ryan McGerrigan was headed home by Andrew Hoey who just made it to the ball before the advancing keeper. The visitors pressed hard to find an equaliser in the closing period but with three minutes remaining, following good build-up play, Jordan Bell popped up to fire home and put the game beyond doubt.
Ards 2 Knockbreda 0
It was the visitors who came out of the blocks quickest, and for the opening quarter, had Ards with their backs to the wall. Only good defence by the resolute Ards back four prevented the visitors from scoring. Ryan Brown made two excellent saves, while Convery marshalled his defence well, and then, completely against the run of play, the same player headed home an Ards corner to give them the lead. This settled the home side and knocked the visitors back resulting in Ards now looking brighter and more dangerous in attack with Arthurs more dominant and McMillan looking dangerous down Ards' left. In the second period, Ards were looking comfortable, and the introduction of McAllister added more of a threat down their right, where Cockcroft now was the busier of the Breda full backs. A clash of heads saw Owens having to leave the field, and with their subs all used, Knockbreda were down to 10 men. Ards' second came when, in a swift counter-attack, McKee sped away and put in McMillan, who clinically finished. The game became scrappy and a Knockbreda dismissal saw the ten men reduced to nine as Ards comfortably saw out the game to remain in joint-top position.
Queens University 0 Dollingstown 2
In a disappointing first half, Queen’s started well and went close, when Matt McManus twice had headed chances which went wide and Matt Hughes cut in from the left wing and saw his rising drive deflected over the crossbar for a corner. Dollingstown came more into the game and left-back Nathan McConnell supplied a great long cross to Jordan Gibson, whose powerful header produced a fine diving save from Queen’s keeper Declan Brown. Queen’s had the better of the first half, but it was the visitors who were dominant after the break. On 53 minutes, Richard Thompson broke away on the left, outpaced the Queen’s defence and his low cross gave Gibson a simple tap-in at the far post. Thompson then picked up a loose ball, carried it forward and fired home a great strike from the edge of the box. Any hopes of a Queen’s comeback were dashed when Noel Corrigan was dismissed for a second yellow card. A well-deserved win for the visitors.
Dundela 0 Limavady United 2
Dundela, playing with 10 men for almost an hour, had brief spells when they threatened in the second half, but could not breach the visitors' defence, superbly marshalled by Bryan McClelland. In the 10th minute, Friel was upended inside the box and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Friel took the kick himself, sending Taylor the wrong way for his 19th goal of the season. Dundela felt that they should have been awarded a penalty, claiming there had been a hand-ball inside the box, but the referee saw nothing wrong. Smith received a straight red card for a challenge on Morrison. From the free kick, Friel's flick was cleared for a corner. The insurance goal United needed came three minutes after the restart, as Morrison was quickest to react to McClelland's header into the box, gleefully nodding the ball past Taylor. The Roesiders had another good chance on 54 minutes as McClelland nipped in front of his marker at a free kick but could not steer his header on target.
Sport and Leisure Swifts 0 Tobermore 2
The first five minutes looked as if Sport and Leisure Swifts would put their recent home woes behind them, as they took the game to Tobermore, with Kevin Lynch firing over the bar and then forcing McGraw into a really good save at his near post and Connor Glenholmes glancing wide from the resulting corner. On 35 minutes, a catalogue of mistakes allowed Tobermore’s Lamont to score against the run of play. The second half continued along the lines of the first with Lynch and Glenholmes taking the game to Tobermore. On 73 minutes, Lynch raced through and lobbed the keeper, but the ball came back off the bar and was cleared. A series of substitutions and yellow cards followed, as Leisure hunted the deserved equaliser but on 88 minutes, and on the break, Deane forced a great save from Leisure's Magill, but the rebound off the bar fell kindly to him and he tucked it away.