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Belfast Telegraph Championship round-up, November 29

All the latest from Championship One and Two:

Championship One


Knockbreda 2  Bangor 4

Bangor consolidated their top-of-the table position with a hard fought 4-2 win away to a Knockbreda side which was missing three key defenders through injury: right back Conor Corry and centre backs Adam Wright and Matthew McManus.

The visitors went ahead after just five minutes, after winger Andy Hall was fouled on the right flank. Hall took the free kick himself for skipper Dean Youle to head powerfully five yards. Home keeper Jordan Williamson got a hand to the ball on the line but couldn't stop it from crossing the line.

Williamson was again in action three minutes later, racing out to grab an attempted Ethan Boylan lob from 15 yards, and the keeper again did well on 17 minutes to hold Boylan's 16-yard drive.

A minute later, the visitors doubled their lead when left winger Jordan Forsythe sent a four-yard header from Hall's in-swinging corner on the left off the crossbar and into the net. On 21 minutes, another Hall corner led to a goal as veteran Colin Nixon pounced after Boylan's header was blocked on the line to blast the loose ball home from three yards.

Two minutes later Knockbreda were back in the hunt when a mix-up in the visitors' six-yard box allowed midfielder James Wright to hit home from point blank range at the right post.

From the restart, the ball went straight to the other end, but the home keeper made a fine reaction save from Andy Morrow's diving header from Hall's cross from the right.

Knockbreda were the stronger team as half time approached and Bangor keeper Cairnduff had to be on top form to save a rasping drive from Wright on 43 minutes.  Cairnduff had no chance a minute later when Knockbreda midfielder Matty Johnson was pulled down by Bangor right-back Andy Long in the box and Wright smashed the spot kick into the bottom left hand corner.

Bangor were again quick off the mark after the restart. With less than two minutes on the watch a four-man move involving Hall, Morrow, Barry Walsh and Boylan ended with Boylan's shot taking a deflection off home defender William Wharry on its way into the right corner of the net.

Knockbreda fought hard to get back into the game, but were out of luck on 52 minutes when Captain Stephen Curley was inches wide of the foot of the right post from 25 yards. On the hour, winger Stephen Garrett sent Jordan Hughes through, but the striker's low shot was finger-tipped round the left post by Cairnduff.

It was end-to-end stuff now and on 64 minutes, Forsythe rattled the home crossbar from 22 yards while at the other end, Matty Johnson was just wide of the left post from 15 yards. On 81 minutes, Andy Morrow whipped a ball across from the left but no-one got their head to the cross.

The last action of the game came three minutes into added time, but Wright's low 25-yard free kick was saved on his line by the diving Cairnduff.


Dundela 3 Lisburn Distillery 4

Lisburn Distillery resumed league action on Saturday away to Wilgar Park, The Whites hoping to extend their recent unbeaten run to seven games whilst the hosts were desperate for points in a bid to claw their way away from the lower positions in the table.

In what proved to be a highly entertaining game, Dundela started the match the brighter as Darren Nixon was forced into making two important headers away from superb crosses to prevent an early goal for the hosts.

Distillery’s first chance came along with the first talking point as Sean Southam had a penalty claim denied. Despite this it was the hosts, Dundela who were well on top of the opening exchanges as their superb work rate was constantly putting Distillery under the cosh in the opening stages.

Nixon made another superb intervention as a whipped in cross was smashed away by the experienced defender but then, against the run of play, the visitors struck. A breakaway attack saw Doyle win a corner which in turn led to the opening goal as Southam slickly turned and fired low into the net after the home defence failed to clear their lines.

Dundela were level however a short time later as a cross into the box from a free-kick was initially headed out by Morton before being well retrieved by Aaron Keenan, who controlled the ball well before turning & lashing the ball low into the corner of the net.

It was a very slow start by the Whites, who were definitely second best to a lively Dundela side belying their lowly league position.

However once again, against the run of play, Doyle nearly had the visitors ahead as he ran from deep but he delayed in pulling the trigger and was well tackled by a sliding Duns defender. At this point, it was wave after wave of home pressure the latest effort cut out by a superb Bradley Morton tackle.

The problem for Distillery in the first half was that the midfield was not involved in the game letting Dundela cut through them, and it was no surprise when they deservedly went ahead when Nathan Jones picked the ball up from just over the halfway line and ran through several tackles before slotting the ball past the helpless McBride, an exceptionally well-taken solo effort.

It seemed set that the hosts would lead at half time, but with the referee poised to blow for the interval, it was Whites skipper Nixon on hand to thunder home a rasper of a shot through a crowded penalty area.

Dundela had the first clear cut chance of the second half as Keenan’s free-kick just sailed wide of goal and they were to rue this miss when Distillery took the lead minutes later as Sean Southam’s delightful lobbed cross was turned into the net by the diving head of substitute Jones.

As the frenetic action continued Ryan McBride had to be quick on his toes as he raced out to slide away from McComb who was racing in to level the tie, Distillery’s Doyle then had a superb chance as he ran clear with Sean Southam standing beside him but instead of squaring the ball, he went for glory, but the keeper made a fine save after standing his ground.

Corrigan then had a good chance to get an assist as he tried to squeeze the ball through to Southam, who surely would have scored, but a last gasp Dundela boot ended that plan but with the visitors now in the ascendency it wasn’t long before goal number four arrived.  A great through ball by Joe McDonnell found Jones ploughing through on goal his shot went through the legs of the keeper and into the net.

As Dundela pushed forward to try to get something out of the game, the space that was now opening at the back suited the visitors. Southam nearly had Distillery’s fifth as he ran one-on-one only to be denied by a superb save by the Dundela keeper and then Corrigan had another chance for Distillery, but his shot was sliced well wide of the target.

Then with less than 10 minutes to play, Dundela pulled one back as a whipped in free-kick was headed past the despairing dive of Ryan McBride  by Michael Halliday. Shortly after this, McBride was forced into a superb save to keep the Whites ahead, palming Keenan’s stinging drive behind.

As the final whistle loomed, Dundela were reduced to ten men as their keeper was sent for an early bath, chopping down Doyle on the edge of the box. Doyle had been clean through and was one-on-one with the keeper.

From the resulting free kick, Doyle whipped the ball over the wall, only for stand in keeper Halliday to make a fantastic save to tip it behind for a corner in what proved to be the last action of the match.


PSNI 1 Dergview 1

From the start, PSNI took the game to the visitors, contesting every ball, but the only real threat in the first half was an effort from Joe McWilliams, which went just wide.

With their massive efforts in the first half, there was a suspicion the police couldn’t maintain such a high work rate. Quite the contrary, if the police were good in the first half, they were exceptional in the second. 

It was no surprise when on 55 minutes, McWilliams collected the ball on the right wing, police were in numbers in the Dergview box calling for the ball, but from the edge of the box, and an acute angle, McWilliams let fly and his effort screamed into the top corner of the net. Jack Boggs in the Dergview goal had no chance. 

Shortly afterwards, Darren Bell was through on goal from the left wing but his well struck shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Boggs.  Substitute Gareth McLaughlin found space on the right wing and he too let fly with a screamer from the edge of the box, only to see it skim the upright and out to safety. 

David Harrison, in the police goal, was seldom troubled and wasn’t really called into action until 90 + 2 when a melee on the edge of the police 18-yard line resulted in the whistle.  There was some confusion as to which team the free had been awarded, but the ref pointed to the spot. 

Substitute Adam Lecky’s well struck shot went under the body of Harrison and into the net.  Players and spectators had hardly time to draw breath when the final whistle went.


Championship Two


Moyola Park 1 Limavady United 5

November has been a bad month for Moyola Park with three defeats in Championship Two, two of them at Mill Meadow.

Gareth Brown opened the scoring after seven minutes from the edge of the penalty area having dispossessed Diarmuid Larkin.

Two minutes later, Chris Dowie had a good opportunity to equalise but he fired wide of Matthew McGraw's net. Jason Paul had to be substituted after 18 minutes following a foul on him in the Moyola penalty area with Conor Deane coming on as replacement.

Brown notched a second goal for the visitors on 28 minutes, the ball taking a deflection off Stephen McQuillan. 

Mark Waddell hit McGraw's crossbar on 35 minutes. Three minutes later, Cathail Friel added to the Limavady score-line, taking advantage of careless Moyola defending, he slotted the ball past Marty Rea.

Moyola's woes were compounded seconds before the halftime whistle when Lee Harkin crashed a 30-yard thunderbolt into the home net.

Andrew Ferris made it 5-0 after 8 minutes of the second half. Ten minutes later, Curtis Hassan's free kick was saved by McGraw. Sean McCabe was unfortunate not to get on the score-sheet with a couple of headers and Craig McAllister shot straight at McGraw from the edge of the penalty area.

Eugene Gallagher headed a consolation goal for Moyola Park with eight minutes left on the clock.

With an Irish Cup game next week at Mill Meadow against fellow Championship Two side Glebe Rangers, the Moyola Park lads will have to up their game considerably if they want to make the draw for round five when the NIFL Premiership sides enter the fray.


Queen's University 2 Banbridge Town 2

Queen’s did most of the early attacking and from a corner, James Ferrin headed back across goal to Michael Allison, whose goal-bound overhead kick was blocked on the line.

Sean Walsh, who was in good form on the right wing, opened the scoring after 15 minutes when he got behind the Banbridge defence and from the bye-line his cross shot trickled in at the far post.

Ten minutes later, the scores were level. Conor Downey gained possession on the right wing near the corner flag and his low cross found the foot of Alistair Wilson at the near post, and he tucked the ball past Declan Brown from five yards.

Queen’s Daniel Culbert tried his luck from 25 yards, shooting narrowly over James McConville’s crossbar. Just before the break, a sweeping cross-field ball found the unmarked Downey, but his first-time shot was well wide.

Queen’s attacked constantly in the early part of the second period. A series of crosses into the box tested a hard-pressed Banbridge defence.

On the hour, a long free kick from Brown found the head of Daniel Hanna, whose excellent leap enabled him to head past McConville.

Banbridge again got back on level terms with 15 minutes to go. They swung a free kick into the Queen’s box where, inexplicably, the Queen’s defenders stood still as two Banbridge players ran onto the cross, and it was defender Martin Buchanan whose glancing header beat Brown

Towards the end, Banbridge sub Duncan Stodard had two chances to win it, but his first effort was blocked and his volley was too high.

Belfast Telegraph