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Belfast Telegraph Championship round-up, March 21

All the latest from Championship One and Two:

Championship One


Bangor 3 Ballyclare Comrades 1

The Seasiders got their Championship One challenge back on track with a 3-1 home victory over a well-organised and motivated Comrades side. The visitors took an early lead through Joel Cooper, whose 15 yard rocket gave the home keeper no chance. With 33 minutes gone, it was even-steven as Andy Morrow was on the spot to shoot home from six yards, following a curling cross from Paul McDowell. Mark Cooling's free kick from the left was headed home on 61 minutes by centre half Colin Nixon to give his side the lead, and on 69 minutes, Bangor made sure of the points. Referee Shane Andrews pointed to the spot after his assistant flagged that Barry Walsh's shot from the edge of the box had been handled by Comrades centre-half Andrew Doyle. Doyle was sent off for a second yellow card offence, and Mark Cooling, who had missed a spot kick the previous week against PSNI, slammed low into the right hand corner.


Dergview 2 Ards 2

Defender Neil Coulter threw a spanner in the works of Ards' title bid by smashing home a dramatic late equaliser at a sunny Darragh Park on Saturday. With just three minutes remaining, the visiting defence struggled to clear, as towering striker Richard Lecky challenged for Gareth Falconer’s free kick and Coulter reacted first to rifle home. Stephen O'Neill had headed in a Dee McCallister cross to put the visitors 2-1 in front for what looked like the winner with just eight minutes remaining. Up to that point, it had been a pretty even contest after Craig McMillen had cancelled out Falconer’s stunning 26th minute opener, rated by those watching as possibly the best team goal ever scored at Darragh Park. The sweeping attack began with Andy Devlin, Blaine Burns, Colin Robinson and Gareth Falconer playing the ball out from the back. Falconer then exchanged passes with Stephen Sheridan, Richard Lecky and Nathan Cashel before raiding clear to beat Ards stopper Aaron Shanahan with a thunderous angled drive.


Carrick Rangers 2 PSNI 1

Miguel Chines put the Gers in front shortly after the half-hour mark when he latched on to Kyle Cherry’s beautiful defence-splitting ball to slot past the onrushing McKay. But their lead lasted just six minutes, when Mark Anderson’s looping effort beat Brian Neeson in the home goal to restore parity. That man Cherry was again the provider when he picked out McCloskey, who smashed the ball home from the edge of the box for what turned out to be the winner. The midfielder’s strike arrived five minutes after the interval, and it signalled another valuable three points for Gary Haveron’s men who remain fourth, well in the promotion mix, ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Armagh City.


Lisburn Distillery 0 Larne 4

A comedy of errors in the home defence allowed the visitors to take the lead on 19 minutes. Ciaran Murray nipped in to convert the easiest of chances following a defensive debacle. McMullan’s 30th minute goal-bound effort was tipped round the post by McBride for a corner and from the resulting corner kick, McMullan was in the right place to head home to double the visitor’s advantage. On 72 minutes, the game was as good as game over, as another failure to clear by the home defence was punished by Murray, who superbly drove a loose ball home for his second. Darren Stuart completed the rout on 78 minutes, however, the day was to get even worse for the hosts as, on 85 minutes, defender Stuart Thompson was dismissed for a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge. Then on 90 minutes, Joe McDonnell was given a straight red for what the referee deemed to be serious foul play.


Championship Two


Glebe Rangers 1 Lurgan Celtic 0

Glebe Rangers upset the form book, inflicting only the second league defeat of the season on promotion favourites Lurgan Celtic, at the Joey Dunlop Centre. Lurgan were on top in the first half, with Daniel Ryan and Christopher Lavery prominent, and it was the latter who had a penalty kick opportunity in the 41st minute after a somewhat harsh decision was given against Nicholl for a foul on the striker.  However, Shannon managed to palm the ball on to the post and Davy Paul blocked the follow-up effort. Glebe produced their best 45 minutes for some time in the second half and were rewarded when a cross from the impressive Wilson fell to Kirk Brace, who smashed a volley past McCorry. The hosts had a chance to seal the points after Paul was upended, but Christie’s effort struck the crossbar and Glebe recorded the victory their performance merited.


Limavady United 3 Ballymoney United 0

Limavady United easily brushed aside the challenge of Ballymoney United with the visitors only managing one shot in the whole 90 minutes, as their relegation worries increased. 'Vady moved top of the table with this win, although Lurgan Celtic and Annagh United both have four games in hand. The hosts took the lead in the fifth minute, when McFadden and Friel combined with a clever one-two to tee up Owens, who made no mistake firing into the bottom corner. In the 28th minute, Friel was upended by Hugh Og Boyle with Owens confidently despatching the penalty. Ten minutes into the second half, the home side added their third. Lee Harkin’s free kick was turned back across the box by Blain Morrison and Friel rose to cleverly head the ball into the far corner. Ballymoney’s only chance came in the 78th minute, with Lee McClelland being denied by a wonderful reaction save from Paul Wells.


Dollingstown 3 Banbridge Town 0  

Dollingstown opened their account when Neill Clydesdale fired into the net against his home-town club and five minutes later, the Banbridge man popped up again to strike the crucial second goal with a direct free kick from fully 35 yards. Adam Walker had a great chance at the back post just before half time, but his shot was well saved. Banbridge almost got back into the match in the 50th minute, but defender Dwayne Kerr made an outstanding tackle on Ally Wilson to prevent a certain goal. Dollingstown made the game safe, with Town conceding their third from yet another set piece, as Jordan Gibson headed home from a Moffett free kick and the points stayed deservedly at Planters Park.


Moyola Park 1 Coagh United 0

A Chris Dowie goal just before the hour mark was sufficient for Moyola Park to take all three points in the local derby against Coagh United at Mill Meadow. The visitors made a strong start, and on six minutes, Marty Farniok did well to foil Glenn Clarke, when the latter broke through the Moyola Park defence. In the 29th minute, Conor Taggart saw his long range effort go over the Coagh crossbar. Farniok made an excellent save on 34 minutes, when he punched Kempton's long range effort over his crossbar and left the game scoreless at the half time interval. In the 59th minute, Chris Dowie took advantage of a gap in the visitors' defence to cleverly chip the ball past William Hassin into the net for the only goal of the game. A Dowie pass gave David Healy the opportunity to test Hassin but his shot came back off the crossbar.


Annagh United 3 Portstewart 1

Annagh started at pace and on 23 minutes, Stretton’s corner was headed in at the back post by Shea Campbell. On 37 minutes, Portstewart’s Murray handled in the box and Campbell bagged a brace from the spot, giving Madison no chance with a well-placed strike. Portstewart’s first effort on goal in the first half was from the penalty spot, after Philip Craig had clipped Forgrave in the area, and skipper Peden made no mistake. Portstewart were by no means out of the game and started the second period a little livelier. Fox was on hand to save well from Donnell and Doherty in the first10 minutes, and at the other end, Jay Gardiner saw his strike well saved, and Campbell was unlucky not to get his hat-trick from the rebound. Annagh increased their lead on 62 minutes, when sub Matty Brown curled in number three, a real beauty from 20 yards, which completed the scoring.


Tobermore United 2 Wakehurst 0

Wakehurst almost took the lead with 10 minutes gone, when Conor Gregg burst through the home defence, beat the on-rushing Matthew McGraw with a fine shot, but saw his effort crash off the crossbar and away to safety. Tobermore’s first goal came from a Winton shot that Dean Stewart flicked past Mark Maybin on 35 minutes. Gregg should have put his side level when he again found space, but his effort was well saved by McGraw. Wakehurst had an appeal for a penalty waved away and, as a result of something he said to the assistant, Gregg was shown a red card with just over 10 minutes to go. Tobermore defended deeper and an equaliser seemed on the cards, but any hope of a comeback was snuffed out when Andrew Erwin upended Winton inside the box in the 92nd minute. Conor Deane duly smashed home the spot kick after Erwin was rather harshly shown a red card for preventing the goal-scoring opportunity.

Belfast Telegraph