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Championship round-ups, April 5

Championship One

Institute 0 Knockbreda 0

Institute lost their position at the top of the table after a goalless draw at the Riverside Stadium, which will go down as two points dropped.

The returning Michael McCrudden put in a lively performance and saw two first half efforts from close range well blocked by the goalkeeper, with Stute well on top.

The visitors saw more of the ball in the second half, but Institute had the lion’s share of the chances and with Knockbreda trying to cling on for the draw, McCauley fired just over when presented with a good opportunity to win it in the dying minutes.


Bangor 6 Loughgall 1

A four-goal burst in six minutes at the end of the match gave the Seasiders another three points and a boost to their goal difference in their quest for Championship One glory. That goal rush certainly hadn't seemed on the cards earlier on, though Bangor did have the better of things in the first half sunshine.

Neither keeper was troubled until the 14th minute when the home team grabbed the lead through striker Ethan Boylan, who fired home low from 10 yards from a neat ball from the left by right-back Andy Long.

Seven minutes later, Boylan was foiled by keeper Wayne Drummond at the right post and on 21 minutes, Boylan fired over the angle of the left post and the bar from 10 yards.

Boylan did get on the mark again on 40 minutes when veteran ex-Glentoran defender Colin Nixon neatly headed down a cross from the left by Dean Youle for the forward to shoot home from 10 yards.

The visitors pressed forward after the break and came close on 61 minutes when the lively James Costello saw his 10-yard shot rebound off the inside of the left post against home defender Long for a corner.

 Five minutes later, Loughgall winger Gerard Rooney pulled a goal back as skipper Ryan Moffatt passed out right for Rooney to slam the ball low past home keeper Darren Gibbons.

The Villagers threw everyone forward in quest of the equaliser, but with keeper Gibbons making a crucial save on 76 minutes from Costello, Bangor rode the storm, and then took cruel advantage of the gaps in the Loughgall midfield.

 On 81 minutes, Jordan Forsythe brought down a looping cross from the left by Grant Gardiner to coolly side-foot home from six yards. Sixty seconds later, substitute Andy Hall fired Andy Morrow's clever lay-off past a stranded Wayne Drummond from seven yards.

Seconds later, it was Morrow's turn to score as the veteran striker received from Andy Long before shooting home from seven yards.

 Bangor made it six on 86 minutes when Hall and Andy Melly played a one-two for Melly to steer the ball home low from nine yards. In added time, substitute Hall should have made it seven for the Seasiders, but blasted Forsythe's pinpoint pass over from 10 yards.

Ballyclare Comrades 0 Carrick Rangers 1

The first half of this derby match was a tight affair with few chances.

On 19 minutes, Connor McCloskey got into a great position for the visitors on the right side of the box, but he fired his shot just wide of the far post from eight yards out.

Chris Trussell had a chance for Comrades in the 39th minute when he was set up by Andrew Simms for a shot from 14 yards, but his effort was parried out by keeper Simon Steele.

Promotion-chasing Carrick started the second half strongly and got their reward in the 61st minute when Aaron Harmon drilled the ball into the net with a cool finish from eight yards.

This was to prove to the winning goal, although Carrick's victory was slightly tarnished seconds before the final whistle when Connor McCloskey was sent off after picking up a second booking

Limavady United 1 Dergview 0

With their backs against the wall, Limavady United produced the performance of the season to grab a lifeline through Blaine Morrison's goal on the stroke of half time.

It may only have postponed the inevitable, as United will still be relegated if they fail to take maximum points from their last three games, but at least they produced a battling performance in the last home game of the season, and should have won by a much more convincing margin.

United started in determined mood, with Morrison heading straight at Buchanan in the visitors' goal from a right wing. This was followed up by Harkin's volley from the edge of the box, which was off target.

On the quarter hour, the same player was on target with a well placed freekick that went round the wall, but Buchanan got down well to gather at the second attempt.

Harkin was back in the thick of it two minutes later, putting in a great low cross which Thompson could not direct on target. Dergview were content to play a cautious game, knowing that a point would almost certainly see them safe.

United were pressing and probing continually, playing intelligent controlled football, but as so often this season, nearly shot themselves in the foot when Heaney gave the ball away in front of his own goal, and a visiting attacker pounced to fire in a fierce volley, which stung the hands of Wilson.

Thompson retaliated with a glancing header from Harkin's cross which went narrowly wide. The tricky Arkinson twisted and turned before unleashing a shot which was just wide, and Maxwell had a daisy cutter from outside the box which fizzed past Wilson's near post with the keeper rooted to the spot.

But this was about as good as it was to get for the visitors.

 As the half drew to a close, United finally had some long overdue luck, as they mounted another attack, with a cross from wide on the right finding Morrison as he burst into the six yard box, and although he mis-controlled the ball, it bounced into the net from five yards out.

The relief was palpable, but given their defensive frailties in recent games, it was clear that United could not sit back on their lead.

The second half was one-way traffic, as United pummelled the visitors' goal, with Thompson the stand out player. Moved out to the right wing, he was a constant threat, first putting in a superb cross on 60 minutes that had the visitors at full stretch.

In the next minute, McIvor tried his luck with a volley from the edge of the penalty area which went over the bar. But the highlight of the half was to follow immediately, when Morrison — imitating Wayne Rooney's goal last week — had a shot from just inside the Dergview half, which dipped over Buchanan as he scrambled back frantically, and bounced off the top of the bar.

On 68 minutes, Morrison was to the fore again, as he tried and failed to force the ball over the line from six yards out, connecting with another tantalising Thompson cross.

United were in the ascendancy and were never under pressure as the clock ran down. In the last 10 minutes they sat back, content to hit Dergview on the counter, as Thompson had a great effort that went just over on 86 minutes, followed by another impressive effort three minutes later, collecting a loose ball outside the box and turning to shoot wide.

the last minute, Corey McMullan fed Aaron Mullan with a defence splitting ball, but the teenager could not direct his effort on target. There was only one effort from the visitors in the entire half, as player-manager Clarke burst through the heart of the home defence, but his shot was so far off target it was more of a cross.


Lisburn Distillery 1 v Coagh United 3

Basement side Coagh United were the visitors to New Grosvenor Stadium on Saturday, this being the first clash between the two sides since that memorable 4-4 draw earlier in the season which saw Distillery reduced to nine men and the visitors down to seven players.

After having beaten Ballyclare 2-1 in midweek, Coagh were coming into this game full of confidence so there would be no room for complacency from the home side.

The game kicked off at a cracking pace and it wasn’t long before the first chance fell to the hosts when Chris Kingsberry’s pace beat the Coagh defence, but his powerful effort was well saved by William Hassen in the visitors goal.

Home keeper Ryan McBride then made a fine one-handed save when it looked like the visitors were going to go 1-0 ahead after Marcus Dallas fired a shot across goal and then shortly after that, it was the Whites turn through Stephen Doyle to test the keeper but Hassan did well in the Coagh goal.

Coagh then had another chance on 12 minutes in a very frantic game as Joel Gillespie was played in by Steven Park, but that effort came to nothing. McBride kept the home side out of trouble a minute later when Aaron Campbell’s shot was superbly saved by the reflexes of the young goalkeeper.

The first goal seemed inevitable and it duly arrived on 14 minutes and, against the run of play, it went to Distillery as Stephen Doyle poked home after an initial save from Nathan McConnell’s shot across goal, a well worked goal to cap Doyle’s fourth goal for Distillery since arriving in January.

Distillery then could have had a second on 20 minutes when Kingsberry whipped in a cross and found the foot of Ben Browne, but he lashed his shot wide of goal when well placed to score.

Coagh were not for lying down however and had a perfect chance to level when Stewart Glasgow’s free kick hit Pike to deceive keeper McBride but the ball deflected off Nixon and went wide of the goal.

Coagh then missed a gilt-edged chance when Gillespie missed a sitter after he found himself one-on-one but somehow fired over the bar when the ball should have been nestling in McBride’s net.

The second half began with the home side controlling the opening exchanges and indeed they had a great chance to go two in front as David Wright was played in by McConnell, his shot being brilliantly saved by Hassen only to then be turned into the goal on the rebound, but that effort was flagged offside.

Distillery were putting constant pressure on the Coagh defence and a Kingsberry shot was once again well saved by Hassan but no one could pounce on the rebound.

Hassan was single-handedly keeping Coagh in the game at this stage as he then made a tremendous triple save to deny Wright and then McConnell on the follow up.

Still the pressure mounted and the hosts had another chance to widen their lead when McConnell was played through, but somehow he fired wide when he really should have scored.

Then on 63 minutes, the entire game changed — a well struck Coagh shot appeared to be blocked by the back of the turning Kris Pike, however the referee deemed it hit him on the arm and the visitors were awarded a soft penalty.

Up stepped Gillespie from the spot to smash his penalty straight down the middle to level for the basement side.

Whites manager Tommy Kincaid made his first change on 64 minutes by bringing on Luke Wilson and bringing off Chris Kingsberry to try and regain the initiative, but the hosts were then shocked as United went in front on 66 minutes courtesy of a second penalty.

Marcus Dallas had gone charging into the box and was caught from behind by Carl McConville, who was subsequently red carded for the tackle. Gillespie did the business again to make it 2-1 and with the Whites now down to 10 men, from being well on top they were now up against it.

All of a sudden the visitors had some self-belief and nearly had a third when Campbell raced away before being well closed down by Pike and the follow up cross was easily caught by Ryan McBride.

However, the Whites’ relief at that opportunity spurned was short lived as the visitors did notch a third on 75 minutes when Scott McGowan drilled the ball from 15 yards into the back of the net.

The Whites kept battling and could have pulled a goal back when Upton’s shot was once again well saved by Hassan and then McConnell was the guilty party as he missed another great chance as he somehow scooped the ball over the bar from six yards.


Championship Two


Armagh City 9 Chimney Corner 2

A nine-goal blast from Armagh City completed a comprehensive Belfast Telegraph Championship Two victory over lacklustre Chimney Corner at Holm Park on Saturday.

And a double for prolific scorer Stephen Murray set a new club record for the home side as he recorded his 36th and 37th goals of the season.

The home side started strongly and opened their account in the fourth minute when centre-back Dara Noonan stooped to head home from close range.

After a concerted period of pressure, City doubled their tally on 26 minutes when captain Liam Cullen unleashed a powerful 30-yard effort which flew past bewildered Corner keeper Paddy Rogan into the top corner of the net.

Five minutes later, it was 3-0 to Armagh when a fine run and cross by Shea McGerrigan was completed by a tap-in at the back-post by the rampant Murray.

However, Corner were given a lifeline on 41 minutes when a mis-timed pass went astray and Jamie Willighan latched onto the ball and curled it past Armagh keeper Sean Morgan for their opener.

This setback was quickly rectified as, just before the break, the home sided added their fourth when a superb through ball from Cullen was confidently converted by Murray.

And City were immediately back on the goal trail when Ryan McGerrigan made it 5-1 from long-range after an initial stinging shot from Ultan Lennon rebounded off an upright.

On 55 minutes, the score became 6-1 when Gavin McParland tucked the ball into the roof of the net after being set up by his partner in crime Murray.

And, moments later, the scorer collected the ball 25-yards out and drilled home a low shot past the bemused Rogan for the seventh score.

And the dangerous McParland followed-up a short time later when a deep cross from the right by Kevin Keegan was met at the back post by the big striker, who smashed the ball home with aplomb to grab his hat-trick and make the score 8-1.

On the stroke of full-time, City's Matthew Hynds popped up to send another rasping 25-yard shot into the visitor's net to bring the rout to 9-1.

In injury-time, Corner did get a further consolation score for their efforts when the tireless Christopher McElroy took advantage of a defensive mix-up to tap the ball into the Armagh net from close-range.

The visitor's cause was not helped when they lost the services of defender Mark Butler during the second period after a nasty challenge on the rampant Shea McGerrigan.


Annagh United 2 Banbridge Town 0

Annagh entered the game in great form following a 9-1 win over Chimney Corner last week, but local neighbours Banbridge Town are a different animal.

Annagh started at pace and Philip Craig saw Cairnduff tip his effort onto the post in the first minute.

Ten minutes later, McCordick should have done better when he turned visiting skipper Greene and fired straight at Cairnduff. McCordick again beat Waddell in the box on 15 minutes only for the right back to clip his heels, cueing up Shea Campbell to put Annagh ahead from the spot.

This seemed to spur Annagh and just four minutes later they increased their tally following excellent solo work from Francis McCann on the right flank, his cross finding Shea Campbell in the six yard box to head home for his brace.

On the half hour, it was Gardiner on the left side who turned supplier for Campbell, only for Cairnduff to deny him his hat-trick. Annagh closed the half looking for the goal to kill the game. This looked to be a formality on 42 minutes, only for an in-form Cairnduff to claw away Stretton’s free kick.

Within five minutes of the restart, both McCordick and Campbell had strikes well saved, but after this it was the visitors who undeniably upped their game.

Downey's introduction off the bench seemed to inject some life into the Town team, Downey himself testing Wright with two great chances while McCordick’s chipped effort on 70 minutes just shaved the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Cairnduff again thwarted a neat Gardiner/Campbell combination but it was evident Town were finding more space across the pitch as Kernaghan and Teggart efforts went closer than Annagh would have liked.

On 80 minutes, Campbell’s hat-trick looked certain but somehow he failed to connect with the ball just three yards out from an empty net.

Annagh hoped they would not rue their missed chances as the closing 10 minutes was dominated by the battling visitors looking to replicate the game from the start of the season, when they clawed back two goals in the dying min

utes. Conor Downey saw Wright at full stretch to save his headed effort, while Teggart also had a good effort saved followed by a freekick, which he saw come off the post as the final whistle blew.


Killymoon Rangers 1 Moyola Park 6

Moyola Park made the short journey to the Mid Ulster Sports Arena on Saturday and claimed all three points in a rather one-sided game against relegation-threatened Killymoon Rangers.

This result gained ample revenge for Killymoon's 2-1 win at Mill Meadow early in the season, but more importantly it got Mervyn Pattison's men back to winning ways following last week's shock home 6-2 defeat by Ballymoney United.

Steven Kenning, Damien Maguire, Sean McConnell and Mark Waddell were all missing from the Moyola Park squad through injury.

Chris Dowie provided the pass for Michael Walsh to open the scoring by lobbing the Rangers keeper from just inside the penalty area in the ninth minute.

Just before the 20 minute mark, Darren Walls crossed from the left wing for Eugene Gallagher to tap in a second goal for Moyola Park.

In the 36th minute, Steven McElhatton, son of former Moyola Park stalwart Denis McElhatton, sent a corner kick to Moyola Park's back post and the ball was played back across goal to Roger Greer, who headed past Marty Farniok to reduce the visitors' lead.

However, the two-goal lead for Moyola Park was restored seconds before the half time whistle when Dowie scored from close range after good play by Ciaran Monaghan.

When Gallagher was fouled in the Killymoon penalty area in the 63rd minute, David Paul rattled the ball into the home side's net.

Some seven minutes later, Gallagher grabbed his second goal of the game with an excellent finish from the edge of the penalty box. Moyola Park talisman Dowie notched his second goal of the game to round off the scoring after 77 minutes.

It was a convincing footballing performance by Moyola Park taking the club up to seventh place in the league standings and leaving Killymoon Rangers with some work to do in order to retain their place in next season's campaign.


Tobermore United 3 Glebe Rangers 1

Tobermore took another big step in their bid to climb away from the relegation zone with this home win against the Glebe.

In the end it was a relatively comfortable win for Tobermore but the entire first 45 minutes belonged to the visitors, who seemed quicker and more determined than their hosts and deservedly took the lead through a David McVicker penalty on 15 minutes.

Despite their dominance, the visitors couldn’t add to their tally and Tobermore were happy to hear the half time whistle.

Whatever was said in the home dressing room during the break certainly worked as Tobermore came out with a completely different attitude and two goals in as many minutes just after the restart turned the game on its head.

The first arrived on 47 minutes when Sean Heneghan smashed home a great back post cross that gave Brian Kane no chance. A minute later, Heneghan was again involved when he rose highest and flicked the ball on to Trevor Parkhill, who made no mistake to put his side 2–1 ahead.

Tobermore were now in control of the game that began to get a little feisty, leading to Mr McFadden flashing a number of yellow cards to both sides.

Things got worse for the Glebe, when on 85 minutes Peter Kennoway was red carded for raising a fist and Ryan Marks followed him a few minutes later having received a second yellow for scything down Parkhill.

From the resulting freekick, Parkhill broke into the box and his fierce drive was turned into his own goal by Alan Sheppard to secure all three points for Tobermore.


Portstewart 0 PSNI FC 5

Top of the table PSNI FC travelled to sixth place Portstewart in the knowledge that earlier in the season, they had to come from two goals down to claim all three points. This was a game which could not be taken for granted.

However, on this occasion the PSNI set about their task of claiming another three points in a well organised, balanced display of attractive, fast moving football, despite missing midfield dynamo Ryan Berry (due to suspension), captain Scott McCrory and left back Matty Holden (both out through injury).

The first 15 minutes was a relatively quiet affair with each team taking time to settle into the game, neither goalkeeper being tested.

However, that changed on the stroke of 15 minutes when a Tyson Gray corner to the far post was met by a charging Colm Kirgan, whose header powered into the back of the net.

On 23 minutes, Ashton McDermott thought he had scored when his well struck shot crossed the line, only to be ruled out as the knock down from Noel Anderson, following a Mark Anderson corner, was declared a foul for leaning on the shoulders of a defender.

The 34th minute saw a fine individual run into the Portstewart penalty area by Kirgan and the only way he could be stopped resulted in a penalty. Lukasz Adamczyk converted.

It was all one way traffic in the first half, with Keith Wilson, in the PSNI goal, never troubled.

The second half was only six minutes old when a long goal kick out by Wilson bounced over the heads of the Portstewart midfielders and onto the laces of Peter Steele’s boots. He rounded two defenders and coolly lobbed Joel Madison, in the Portstewart goal. Goal number three.

On 63 minutes, Adamczyk and JB Dobbin linked up with a fine 1–2 and from a very tight angle, Dobbin made no mistake with his well struck shot hard and low.

A long effort from Steele 10 minutes later, was well turned over by the fingertips of Madison. On 82 minutes, Dobbin picked up a loose ball and from 25 yards he let fly an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net.

Portstewart had a couple of shots on target in the second half, but they were easily dealt with by Wilson, who kept another clean sheet.


Wakehurst 1 Newington 0

Wakehurst entertained Newington FC on Saturday and came away with a valuable three points in a hard fought 1-0 victory.

A tough encounter was anticipated and the early skirmishes confirmed this. Little separated the teams in the opening 25 minutes, though Ryan Curry was slightly the busier in the Wakehurst goal.

On 36 minutes, the game sprang to life. Ryan Gregg was strong in the tackle and passed the ball to brother Conor, who threaded a fine ball to Jason Paul. The young striker composed himself and calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net to give Wakehurst the advantage.

The goal sparked the away team into life and on 40 minutes their efforts almost paid dividends when Quinn hit the crossbar with a fine strike, much to Wakehurst's relief.

Wakehurst suffered a double setback at the start of the second half with both Mellon and Dickey retiring through injury but able replacements were found in David Gage and Douglas Stevenson.

On 55 minutes, Connor Ross was unlucky to be penalised in a collision with the goalkeeper which would have resulted in a certain goal for Wakehurst.

On 75 minutes, Jason Paul was unlucky when he burst through the Newington defence, showing blistering speed and a second goal was on the cards but for the heroics of Dean Smith in the Newington goal, who took the full force of the shot in the face.

As the end grew near, Newington adopted a more direct approach but the experience in the Wakehurst defence reduced the visitors to long range efforts with no direct threat on the Wakehurst goal.

Belfast Telegraph