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NIFL Championship round-up, September 5

All the latest from Championship One and Two:

Championship One


Lurgan Celtic 2 Knockbreda 1

Knockbreda started the brighter but the home side soon played their way into the game and as the first half looked like ending scoreless, the visitors took the lead after a skirmish in their goal saw Celtic nearly take the lead, but from the goal-line clearance, Daniel Burns raced upfield to score with the last kick of the half past an isolated Conor McCorry in the Celtic goal. Celtic nearly conceded a second but a great tackle from Ruiari Mc Cann saved the day and shortly after this, Raymond Fitzpatrick sent over a fine cross for Josh Barton to equalise with a brilliant header. The home side wrapped up the points when Aaron Haire made a great run and was taken down in the penalty area leaving Ronan O’Hara to slot home the resultant penalty and seal the points.


Bangor 2 Loughgall 2

The visitors grabbed the lead on 17 minutes, when Jamie Rea gave Bangor's new keeper Chris Johns no chance. Bangor were awarded a penalty on 43 minutes, when McDowell was brought down by keeper Buchanan, and sub Mark Cooling slammed the ball into the bottom left hand corner. Two minutes into first half added time, Loughgall were back in the lead after a 25-yard lofted free kick by forward Warner Mullen took a deflection and slipped through the keeper's fingers. Bangor levelled on 70 minutes, when they were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal. Sharpshooter Cooling gave the keeper no chance as he drove home a rocket shot. Right at the death, Bangor thought they had snatched a winner when skipper Dean Youle headed home a 35-yard Cooling free kick but referee Ken Gibbons ruled that home defender Colin Nixon had impeded the keeper as he went for the ball.


Ballyclare Comrades 1 Dergview 1

Ballyclare Comrades and Dergview had to settle for a drab draw in glorious sunshine at Dixon Park. In the third minute Gregg Shannon made a fine save to deny Aaron Arkinson, who eventually opened the scoring in the 39th minute after being put clear on goal by Gareth Porter. With the wind in their favour in the second half, Comrades had the edge, and Samuel McIlveen levelled from the spot in the 59th minute, after Randal Reid had been fouled by Matthew Buchanan. In injury time Andrew Simpson almost grabbed the winner for Comrades, but his goal-bound effort was deflected for a corner.


Armagh City 0 Lisburn Distillery 1

Lisburn Distillery grabbed their first league win of the season on Saturday, scraping past an Armagh City side who may feel that their efforts deserved at least a point. The first half saw little in the way of real quality from either side, with neither keepers tested as both sides struggled to get into any real footballing rhythm. City came out after the break and looked the better side early on, but the turning point of the game arrived on the hour mark. Visiting attacker Jones sprung the City offside trap and beat keeper Connolly to the ball for a clear penalty. Referee Damien Basketfield showed Connolly a red card. Sean Mallon went in goal for City and saved Denver Taggart's penalty with his knees, only for the taker to nip in and score the rebound. With a quarter of an hour to go Ciaran Burns saw red for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow. The home side pressed continuously for the equaliser which did not come despite numerous opportunities, and Distillery recorded their first win of the season.


Annagh United 1 Ards 3

After just 5 minutes of this top of the table clash, Ards grabbed a goal following some sloppy defending from Annagh; McAllister putting his side ahead. Ards were dominant in midfield but Annagh had a chance to level it on 30 minutes, although Browns cross just evaded Jay Gardiner. Ards had two efforts saved by Fox and Rae deflected a certain goal-bound strike over the bar but the sustained pressure paid off when McAllister bagged his second on 45 minutes. On 70 minutes, an unmarked Aaron Boyd popped up with a header making it 3-0 to the visitors. The last 10 minutes of the game were certainly Annagh's best spell of the game, after a hand-ball in the area, skipper Allen scored a penalty on 83 minutes and four minutes later Allen headed just over from Matty Brown's corner. Annagh’s late flurry concluded with three corners, a clearance off the line and a sprawling save from Brown to push Gardiner’s strike away but unfortunately no goals to narrow the scoreline.


Championship Two


Moyola Park 3 Coagh United 0

Moyola Park played host to local rivals Coagh United at a sunny Mill Meadow where United were looking for their first points of the season. The game started at a high tempo with both sides looking to dominate from the start. Daniel McIllhattan took advantage of a mistake by the Coagh United goalkeeper in the 8th minute to make it 1-0 to Moyola Park. Moyola were dominant and on 16 minutes a terrific pass by Gray found McIllhattan who fired into the roof of the net. The second half began with the same tempo as the first. But it wasn’t until the 77th minute that Moyola finally added the killer third goal. A great through-ball from Magill found Dowie and the hard-working centre forward calmly rounded Martin to put the game to bed. McAllister saw red for Moyola in the 81st minute for a second bookable offence, leaving Moyola to finish the game with 10 men.


Dollingstown 1 PSNI 2

Dollingstown welcomed league leaders PSNI on their first visit to Planters Park. Playing with a strong wind behind them, the Dollybirds almost took the lead in the second minute when Richard Thompson broke clear, but he fired wide. On 15 minutes Jordan Gibson rattled the bar from fully 30 yards with the keeper well beaten and home keeper Kris Fletcher was called  into action making two outstanding saves shortly afterwards. PSNI went in front against the run of play on 35 minutes when central defender Neil King headed into his own net from a cross wide on the right . DFC were back on terms before the break when a wind-assisted cross from Thompson flew over the keeper and into the top corner. PSNI regained the lead on 51 minutes when keeper Fletcher dropped a clearance which had deflected off one of his own defenders allowing Owen Moody to tap home what proved to be the winner.


Queens University 1 Newington FC 0

Two minutes in, Queen’s scored in their first attack. A right wing cross was partially cleared to the edge of the box where Matthew Hughes’ clever back-heel found Patrick Stuart and he hit a low left foot drive into the far corner. Minutes later, Newington missed a great chance to equalise. A perfect through-ball sent Todd clear but his shot was well saved by Declan Brown. After this early excitement, the game developed into a dour midfield battle for the remainder of the half. The Queen’s defence was under severe pressure in the second period as Newington poured forward. Newington’s winger Conal Burns dribbled through the home defence, rounded keeper Brown but inexplicably shot into the side-netting with an empty goal beckoning. Brown made a string of fine saves as Queen’s held on for three welcome points.


Banbridge Town 0 Sport & Leisure Swifts 6

Banbridge Town headed into the game still looking for their first league win as they welcomed Sport & Leisure to Crystal Park. The Town came flying at the Swifts from the kick-off as they went on attack after attack with promising moves that gave the visitors some defending to do. However a rare mistake at the back from Stephen Greene allowed a Sport & Leisure winger to slot home the opening goal placing a shot under the onrushing Stephen Croft. Early in the second half, Greene was dismissed for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity and the Sport & Leisure captain stepped up to fire home the penalty. The visitors added a third goal on 70 minutes, a fourth on 75 from a quick counter and the game was over as a contest. The mounting pressure led to a fifth goal on 79 minutes and the final nail in the coffin arrived right at the end. A bad day at the office for a Town side who never really found their rhythm.


Glebe Rangers 0 Limavady United 4

The Cathair Friel show keeps on gathering pace, as he found the target for the sixth game in succession, but this time he netted four times to take the plaudits, bringing his tally for the season so far to an incredible 13. United hit the front on five minutes when Friel was at his goal-poaching best, toe poking in from a tight angle after Tommons' pass. The second arrived just before the break, with Friel being unmarked in the six-yard box to profit from an inch-perfect cross, nonchalantly heading home with the Glebe defence all at sea. In the 65th minute came the goal of the game. Fine work from McCreadie left the home defence scattered in his wake, and the killer ball was perfectly set up for Friel to stab the ball home. United were not content with this however, but Friel showed he was mortal when he missed a great chance three minutes later. However he was not to be denied for long, as in the 75th minute he was in the right place to tap in Owens' free kick.


Tobermore United 0 Wakehurst 1

Tobermore boss Adrian Whiteside will be bitterly disappointed not only in his side losing this game and failing to maintain their 100% winning start to the league campaign, but in the manner in which they lost to a young Wakehurst outfit that were missing a number of key players. Tobermore were also without the services of several players but that was no excuse for the below-par performance. Wakehurst, with only one point from their three previous outings, went ahead on three minutes, when keeper McGraw was given what looked like a harmless back pass but he delayed in hammering the ball up field, allowing the speedy Laughlin to close him down, and the attempted clearance rebounded off him and into the net. The visitors went on to dominate the first half without really threatening McGraw’s goal again. Tobermore did come more into the game as the second half progressed but the experienced Muir and his keeper Maybin were able to snuff out any efforts that the home side did manage to  get on target.

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