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Championship round-ups, March 30

Championship One

Bangor 5 Coagh United 0

Bangor got back to winning ways at the weekend as the Seasiders scored five goals without reply against relegation-haunted Coagh United.

The first chance of the game came on four minutes when home defender Dean Youle headed Andy Morrow's cross just over from five yards. Four minutes later, midfielder Dom Melly saw his header from winger Jordan Forsythe's looping ball from the right skim the Coagh bar from eight yards.

Bangor were awarded a penalty on 20 minutes after Coagh captain David Calderwood handled a waist-high ball into the box by Forsythe. Forsythe took the spot kick himself, giving keeper William Hassan no chance as he slammed the ball into the bottom left hand corner.

The home team kept up the pressure and went 2-0 up on 33 minutes when bustling forward Ethan Boylan sent a glancing three-yard header from Grant Gardiner's corner past a helpless keeper at the near post.

Five minutes later, Gardiner was out of luck as he slammed a rising 20-yard drive against the right post, but the Seasiders' third goal came two minutes into added time.

Ex-Glentoran defender Colin Nixon beat the offside trap with a through ball from the centre circle for the alert Boylan to run onto and slide the ball from 15 yards past the advancing keeper.

It was one-way traffic after the break with play almost exclusively in the visitors' half, and on 61 minutes Forsythe scored his second when he sent the ball hard and low past the keeper's outstretched arms just inside the left upright.

Just two minutes later, Bangor were five up when the Coagh defence failed to clear their lines and from the edge of the box Dom Melly made no mistake as he coolly passed the ball from the edge of the box into the net.

Bangor might have had a sixth goal on 88 minutes after Gardiner put Forsythe through on the right, but the winger missed out on his hat-trick when the chipped shot from 10 yards rebounded off the crossbar.

Coagh failed to notch a consolation goal right at the death after substitute Matthew Kempton jinked his way through the home backline, but home keeper Paul Cairnduff — playing his first game in six weeks — reacted well to take the low 12-yard shot on his line.


Knockbreda 5 Dundela 4

The large crowd at Breda Park witnessed one of the most exciting match in the championship this season. This match had everything — big leads, comebacks, penalties, dismissals and nine goals.

Wright scored for Breda after six minutes and then totally dominated and threatened to score with every attack. Further goals from Chines and a Wright penalty put them three up at half time.

If anyone thought Breda would win by a landslide, they were shocked when after only 15 minutes of the second half, Dundela stormed back with three goals and were level.

Breda calmed their nerves and went ahead with 15 minutes to go, again through Chines, and now seemed to be in control, but in an amazing last four minutes, the Duns equalised.

Breda took the lead again in the 90th and the Duns had two men dismissed.

An amazing battle that ended with both teams congratulating each other and the win moves Breda into third in the league and they can look forward to their Intermediate Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

However, they will be severely hampered now by injuries, suspension and ineligibilities against a strong Bangor team.


Lisburn Distillery 2 Limavady United 0

Lisburn Distillery were back on home turf against second bottom side Limavady United. This lower end of the table battle was a must win game for the home side, who were bolstered by the return to the first team of Ben Browne, who has been a key player this season for the Whites.

The first chance of real note in the game came on 10 minutes for the visitors when a mistake by Thompson saw Cory McMullan run onto the loose ball before surging into the box, his tame shot however was straight at Whites keeper Ryan McBride.

Nathan McConnell then had a great chance to put Distillery ahead minutes later when Kingsberry's well-placed cross was met by the head of Kris Pike, who cushioned his header back to McConnell, but his effort went straight into the arms of visiting keeper Corey Wilson.

Mark Scoltock could have received his marching orders after he appeared to lunge into McConnell with studs up, but the referee gave a yellow for the offence.

McConnell was involved quite a bit at this stage and he was in the thick of the action once again on 22 minutes as Pike’s cross found his head, but he couldn't direct his header on target.

Home keeper McBride kept the scores level when McFadden's through ball found Jack Heaney, his snapshot fired across the young keeper who did well to get down low to the effort.

A good chance for Distillery came on 32 minutes as a quick interchange between Carl McConville and McConnell saw the latter fire past Corey Wilson but hit the side netting, and shortly after this the visiting keeper Wilson was almost left with a red face as he dropped Pike’s shot from distance, but thankfully for him there was no one to pounce on the rebound.

Distillery eventually broke the deadlock on 43 minutes when a fantastic run by Pike saw him pull the ball back for the returning Ben Browne, who teed his shot up to perfection and drilled it low and hard into the net past Wilson.

Limavady were unhappy when they were denied a penalty on 48 minutes when Alaine Morrison was played through one on one and went down under a Pike challenge, but the referee waved play on.

Shortly after this, the Whites went 2-0 ahead when McConnell played the ball in to the feet of Wright, who made no mistake from close range before running over to celebrate his goal with some of the delighted home supporters.

At this stage the Whites were well on top. However, Limavady then had another good chance when the ball fell to McIvor, but his shot was well held once again by the home keeper.

On another day, McConnell could have had a hat-trick but this wasn't his day as, when he was played through, his well struck shot hit the side netting when he looked odds on to score.

Limavady made the first change on 67 minutes by introducing debutant Peter Lynch, who was making a debut for the first team having done well for the Roesiders youth team.

It then almost went from bad to worse for the Roesiders as Carlin's pass back only found the lurking Stephen Doyle, but his effort was straight at Wilson.

And so three big points for the Whites but for the visitors relegation looks ever more likely. Defeat next week will see their relegation from Championship One confirmed.


Dergview 0 HW Welders 0

Dergview strengthened their claim for a mid-table finish, although Richard Clarke's charges were ultimately disappointed they hadn't translated a dominant second half display into maximum points in this scoreless draw at Darragh Park.

The home side finished strongly, yet the Welders could well have left with the victory had it not been for two outstanding saves by stand-in goalkeeper Tim Harney.

Nevertheless, the stalemate stretches Dergview's unbeaten sequence to four matches, during which they haven't conceded a single goal.

Once again the home side's back four of Colin Robinson, Gareth Liggett, Gareth Porter and Dale Maxwell were resolute throughout against a useful visiting attack, while Harney proved his worth between the sticks.

Another point in the bank takes Dergview 15 points and 11 points clear of Coagh United and Limavady United, respectively. The Castlederg side remain level on points with Donegal Celtic and just two adrift of Lisburn Distillery.

With Darren Higginbotham suspended following his midweek sending off against Coagh United, Dergview opted for five across the middle with Adam Lecky taking up an advanced position in support of Philip Wallace.

The team sheet also looked a little unfamiliar at the opposite end for the hosts, with Harney making his first full start between the sticks in the absence of the unavailable Alan Buchanan.

Harney's first touch came on 21 minutes when the Northern Ireland Fire Service employee comfortably held a Josh Cahoon free kick as the visitors made the early running without posing a significant threat in the final third.

Dergview's first real opportunity fell to Maxwell, but the defender dragged his snap-shot well wide after the Welders defence struggled to clear Gareth Porter's whipped delivery from the right.

The hosts threatened twice again in the closing minutes of the half when, first, right-back Gareth Beattie denied Adam Lecky with a last-ditch tackle, in the wake of a lung-bursting run by Andy Sproule.

Then in the dying seconds, skipper Robinson knocked down a Liggett free-kick into the path of striker Wallace, who warmed Michael Dougherty's hands with a stinging shot from the edge of the area.

Dergview, too, created the first opening of the second half, with Wallace hooking a volley wide after the striker latched onto Porter's ball over the top.

Moments later, Welders offered their first serious threat when midfielder Scott Davidson ushered Stephen Cockcroft down the left channel but Harney spread himself superbly to make the save.

Neither side was holding back as visiting skipper Philip Simpson had a snap-shot cleared off the line before Gary Dickson, Clarke and Porter combined on the right to create space for Sproule, but again Dougherty was equal to the attacker's low shot.

Both defences were now coming under increasing scrutiny as Harney re-adjusted superbly to palm away a 30-yard blockbuster by Cahoon that was swerving all over the place.

Dougherty was equally impressive in pushing away Lecky's well-struck volley on the run. Aaron Arkinson then picked out Sproule with a glorious pass, who in turn squared for Lecky, who was felled by Armstrong as he prepared to pull the trigger.

The resultant free-kick cannoned back off the defensive wall as the contest finished all square.

Cautions: Lecky (21); Armstrong (72); Arkinson (77); Cahoon (90 + 2).



Championship Two

Banbridge Town 1 Armagh City 4

Champions-elect Armagh City came to Crystal Park on Saturday last, and showed the form of real champions with an impressive performance which culminated in a comfortable victory and another three points on their relentless march to the title.

Banbridge Town played their part in the game nevertheless, and created quite a few chances of their own over the 90 minutes. However, they once again failed to capitalise on them and in the end the visitors showed what it takes to be possible champions and thoroughly deserved to go home with full points.

Starting without Steven O'Neill, Stephen Jones, Mattie McCartan plus long-term absentees Adam Pedlow and Chris McGrath, this was always going to be a tough ask for Town and when Murray flashed an early warning over from 10 yards after only two minutes, it served to be the case.

Soon after, Michael Ferguson came to Town's rescue when he headed clear from a dangerous left wing cross. City were attacking strongly down their left and keeper Stephen Cairnduff cut out a great cross from Eamon Kelly as his strikers waited to pounce.

The pressure was on Town but they defended well, although on 15 minutes a deep Shea McGerrigan cross just evaded Gavin McParland at the far post. His namesake Damian McParland was pulling the strings as Banbridge fought their way into the game and he sent James Wilson in on goal after 23 minutes, only to see the visiting keeper Morgan make a fine save at the full back's feet.

Two minutes later, Town had a great opportunity to grab the lead when Mark Teggart found the unmarked Conor Downey in front of goal, but the latter headed badly wide when he should have done better.

It was to prove a costly miss, as on 33 minutes Lennon was first to react to another inviting cross to head past Cairnduff to put Amagh into a lead which they were never going to lose.

Fighting, Town did push forward and Johnny Kernoghan turned and shot just wide with a drive from 25 yards before a Neil Watson header was cleared off the line in a bout of home pressure.

However, City began to turn the screw and Gavin McParland rolled an effort wide of the post after being played through by Shea McGerrigan on 35 minutes. Four minutes later, it was 2-0 when Murray sharply turned to give Cairnduff no chance from 22 yards.

It could well have been worse for Town, when just before the break Lennon lifted his shot over from five yards after racing onto a Gavin McParland free-kick.

Banbridge surprised the visitors with an electric start to the second half and Morgan had to be alert to save a Martin Buchanan header after 50 minutes.

Town were now stringing together a few good moves and Mark Teggart combined well with Neil Watson before feeding substitute Gary Boyle (he had replaced Conor Downey at the interval) and the latter forced a corner with a fine drive.

Buchanan scuffed another shot just wide as the home side forced the pace. Indeed, Johnny Kernoghan should have reduced the arrears after 56 minutes with a one-on-one with Morgan, although the keeper deserves credit.

Four minutes later, that miss was to come back to haunt Town when Armagh broke and launched a breakaway attack on the home goal. The ball somehow rebounded to the lurking Shea McGerrigan and the ex-Banbridge striker planted the ball into the corner of the net to put City firmly in command.

Cairnduff spread himself to thwart Murray after 63 minutes, while at the other end Morgan easily held a ground shot from another Town substitute, Dominic Donnelly.

It was 4-0 after 84 minutes when Murray raced in behind Glen Waddell after a long ball had drifted over the latter's head to give the helpless Cairnduff little chance.

Brave Town never gave up and pulled a goal back on 88 minutes when a forceful run down the right by James Wilson saw Johnny Kernoghan crash past Morgan for a 4-1 scoreline.

They almost scored again just before the final whistle when Morgan just got to a Donnelly cross as Teggart waited to pounce.

This Saturday (April 5) Banbridge Town travel to Annagh United (Kick-Off 3.00pm). Annagh defeated Armagh City in their Mid-Ulster Cup semi-final last week and scored nine in their last league match against Chimney Corner, so this will be another huge task for Town.

Portstewart 3 Killymoon Rangers 0

Portstewart began brightly and Lee Forgrave brought a fine save from the Killymoon keeper.

In the 23rd minute, Killymoon went down to 10 men after their right back received two yellow cards. Two minutes after the break, the Ports went ahead when Nigel Turner scored with a header.

Ryan Doherty made it two with a fine solo run, beating two men and finishing with a well-placed shot. The same player made the points safe just before the end when he headed in a right wing cross.


Glebe Rangers 1 PSNI 8

On a day of high scoring in Championship Two, league leaders PSNI contributed eight to the total as they came to Ballymoney and comprehensively defeated the hosts with a top class display, rounded off by a ruthless demonstration of finishing.

The opening period did not give any indication of what was to come, as both sides vied for the opener without either keeper being tested.

Adamcyzyk thought he had made the breakthrough after 18 minutes, but the striker was flagged offside. However, the opener was only delayed by three minutes as a corner from Mark Anderson wasn't dealt with and Ryan Berry fired home.

The visitors continued to enjoy the majority of possession, but Glebe threatened when Henry broke through and saw his effort deflected over for a corner.

PSNI then showed why they are in contention at the top of the table as they finished the half with a three-goal salvo in the last five minutes. The damage began with McDermott, part of an impressive midfield with Mark Anderson and Ryan Berry, who capped a fine solo run with a well-placed strike past the helpless McIlveen in the 40th minute.

Straight from kick-off, the young keeper was called into action again as he blocked an effort from Steele, but McDermott was on hand to net the rebound from a tight angle.

Simon Robb almost made it four as his shot struck a post, however Mark Anderson completed the scoring for the half when his effort from 20 yards sailed into the top corner.

Glebe began the second period in determined fashion and, when Marks played Nicholl through, Kirgan was adjudged to have impeded the big striker inside the box.

David McVicker stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to give his side a potential lifeline. However, the visitors responded and a spell of intense pressure almost saw them restore their four goal cushion, but McIlveen was equal to deny DobbIn.

A 10 minute spell saw the PSNI put the game to bed as McDermott completed his hat-trick with a deflected effort from Mark Anderson's cross, before substitute Darren Bell notched when the ball fell to him inside the box and he made no mistake from six yards.

Dobbin then got his second, dancing through the home defence before slotting past the stranded McIlveen.

Glebe briefly threatened when McVicker's cross almost found Sheppard, but good defending by Shane Brennan denied the home defender.

As the game petered out it was Mark Anderson who again finished the half with a goal as his free-kick beat McIlveen right on the final whistle.


Moyola Park 2 Ballymoney United 6

Straight from the kick-off, Ballymoney United exerted continuous pressure on Moyola Park with former Moyola Park player Lee McClelland playing a prominent role for the visitors.

With only 11 minutes on the clock, Mark Dempsey provided the perfect pass for McClelland to open the scoring. Two minutes later, a Maurice Curtis free-kick from wide on the right went inches over Bryan Moore's crossbar.

Karl Steel headed the ball past Marty Farniok following a corner kick on the left to double the visitors' lead, and within seconds Farniok had to pull off an excellent save to prevent Moyola Park going further behind.

Some six minutes before the half time interval, Declan Megarry picked up a half-cleared ball just outside the penalty area and rattled it into the Moyola Park net.

The visitors were in total control of the game at this stage and it came as no surprise when Johnny Stewart added a fourth goal to the Ballymoney tally three minutes before the break.

Seven minutes into the second half, Chris Dowie acrobatically struck an overhead kick past Moore to put Moyola Park on the scoresheet. Within two minutes, the home side grabbed a second goal when a Darren Walls cross from the left was stabbed into the net by substitute David Paul.

Just as Moyola Park supporters were sensing the possibility of a come-back, the speedy Conleth McLaughlin added to the Ballymoney scoreline. Craig McAllister had an opportunity to snatch another goal for Moyola Park but his shot went straight at Moore, who gathered the ball comfortably.

McLaughlin brought the Ballymoney goal tally to six when he raced through to score with the home defence seeking an offside decision. Farniok had to pull off another excellent save to prevent Gerald Gillan getting a seventh goal.

Ballymoney United were worthy winners on the day and fully claimed revenge for a 5-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season.

As for Moyola Park, this lacklustre performance will need to be put behind them as the games will now be coming thick and fast as the end of the season fast approaches.


Annagh 9 Chimney Corner 1

Chimney Corner were the visitors to Tandragee Road to face an Annagh side eager to keep their keen form going following their Mid Ulster Cup victory over Armagh City in midweek, and they did not disappoint in what turned out to be a one-sided game and a great goal return for the Reds.

After just six minutes, Gardiner and Nesbitt combined on the left flank to get the ball to Shea Campbell, who did well to find space to push the ball under Rogan.

Left-back Stretton had a good effort saved five minutes later, and on 12 minutes Campbell secured his brace following a great cross from Paget on the right side.

The visitors had their first effort on 16 minutes from range, but Wotter’s effort was gathered well by Wright.

Annagh midfielders Shea Skelton and Francis McCann had a notable effort apiece midway through the half, and on the half hour Nesbitt saw his low strike pushed round the post. Philip Craig should have scored when he had two chances in the six yard box, but Rogan did well to save.

Annagh were well on top and in the second minute of first half injury time, Stretton moved at pace to set Jay Gardiner free to cross from wide on the left, and he found Shea Campbell on hand to head past Rogan for his hat-trick.

The second half was only a minute and a half old when a long throw somehow evaded the backline and found Wotter free in the Annagh box, who shot low past Andy Wright to give Chimney Corner a faint glimmer of hope, but what followed was exactly the response Annagh are capable of.

On 49 minutes a hard working Nesbitt headed the ball down to his strike partner Campbell, who scored his and Annagh’s fourth.

The former had a long range strike well saved by Rogan on 52 minutes. Four minutes later, it was a short corner routine that saw Francis McCann’s effort find the top corner from 18 yards, while arguably goal of the day came on the hour.

Jay Gardiner won the ball on the goal line near the corner flag and somehow curled the ball low into the net. It was 66 minutes before Wright had a save to make when he tipped a sweet McKay effort over.

Shea Campbell made way for Scott McCordick, who increased the tally on 73 minutes when he latched onto Paget’s low cross to turn and strike underneath Rogan.

With 10 minutes to play, Adam Nesbitt got his reward when he stole the ball from Rogan at the edge of the box, moved wide and struck a low shot into the net from a very tight angle.

On 85 minutes, Gardiner’s corner was met by Paget, whose headed effort gave the keeper no chance for Annagh’s ninth.

It could very well have been double figures on 93 minutes, only for Paget to hit the post after beating two defenders in the process.

Overall, a great day and team effort for the home side and most notably for Shea Campbell, who bagged four to keep him in the running for the accolade of Championship Two top scorer.


Lurgan Celtic 2 Wakehurst 1

Manager Colin Malone made three changes from last week’s starting line-up and although Wakehurst started off the brighter, the home side opened the scoring after Raymond Fitzpatrick received the ball on the right and cut in past several defenders, to plant a low left foot shot into the corner of the net.

The game had barely restarted when Dale Malone ghosted into the six yard area to deftly head home and double the lead. Wakehurst then slowly played their way into the game and reduced the deficit with Loughran scoring after good play down the right wing.

The second half saw Wakehurst dominate midfield for the opening 20 minutes, but despite this never had a direct shot on target to trouble Ciaran Fox in the Hoops goal.

The home side bombarded the Wakehurst goal, but were thwarted by some bad luck and at least four good saves from the visiting keeper and although Fitzpatrick did eventually score, he was whistled up for offside.

The game ended without further score to give Celtic the three points.


Tobermore United 4 Sport & Leisure 0

Tobermore may have come out on top by a handsome margin in this relegation battle, but it certainly wasn't all one way traffic.

The visitors played some neat football and almost went in front with barely five minutes on the clock, when a speculative shot from at least 25 yards out had keeper Paul Wells scrambling back towards his goals. He somehow got a fingertip to the ball and smothered it as it crashed from the crossbar onto the goal line.

Ryan Winton opened the scoring for the home side on 12 minutes with a well taken header, and James McGahan must still be wondering how he didn't get numbers two and three as on two occasions in quick succession, he found himself in front of an open goal but couldn't get his efforts on target.

Darren Gallagher must have thought he was in for the equaliser just before half time, but he was denied by a wonderful tackle by full back Adam Graham.

The hard-working McGahan made up for his earlier misses when he pounced for Tobermore's second on 51 minutes and although the visitors never gave up the fight, the game was put beyond them when Trevor Parkhill struck twice in a minute.

The first, on 72 minutes, was a relatively easy finish for the big striker from close range but the second was a superb goal when he beat a couple of defenders inside the box and gave Damien Nugent no chance with a crisp finish.

Five minutes later, Parkhill must have thought he had his hat-trick from a similar position, but he was denied by a great one-handed save by Nugent.

The visitors kept up their hard work until the final whistle, but couldn't find a goal.

All in all, a good day’s work for the home side, who will hope to take confidence from this win and climb away from the relegation zone.

Belfast Telegraph