Belfast Telegraph

Championship round-up October 19

Round-up of action from Championship One & Two:

Championship One:

Loughgall 4 Coagh United 2

Coagh United started brightly and took the lead on the seventh minute via the penalty spot after Mark Stewart was adjudged to have have fouled Stephen Lamon., Gillespie took the penalty and gave McKinstry no chance. Lamont spurned a great chance on 11 minutes to double Coagh's lead but the shot drifted agonisingly wide. Loughgall got the equaliser on 28 minutes after Jeff Brady crossed from the left and Aaron Haire somehow found time and space inside the six-yard box to finish comfortably. The same two players combined again on 35 minutes, with Brady crossing from the right this time and Haire hammering a left foot shot in giving Hassan no chance. Coagh had a strong penalty shout before the end of the half as Jason Gillespie collided with Loughgall keeper William McKinstry, but the ref didnt give it.

The Second half started off slower and only really resulted in a couple of half-chances from Mark Carson and Coagh's Barry Anderson until Haire got his hat-trick on 74 minutes after great work from Carson getting to the byline and cutting the ball back to Haire who again finished with ease. Coagh got themselves back into the game again on 79 minutes from a Gillespie header after a switch of play from sub Mattie Kempton. But the goals didn’t stop there, as Loughgall again hit back with Haire not finished yet. Carson was again in the action with a superb individual run beating several players, then got through on goal but was thwarted by Hassan. The ball then broke to Haire, who finished with a low strike into the corner. A six-goal thriller in a great game for the neutral, but another three points in the bag for Loughgall who continue their impressive recent form and march up table.

 

Dergview 1 Institute 1

Dergview banked another precious point after matching visitors Institute stride for stride in an entertaining North West derby clash at a sodden Darragh Park on Saturday. In fact, Richard Clarke's highly-motivated charges felt somewhat aggrieved they had been denied what would have been an exceptional derby win, when a linesman's flag led to a 70th minute header by Adam Lecky being chalked off for offside.

Lecky, along with Dergview's player-manager Clarke, had been the game's outstanding performers. But it was brother Mark, with a rare headed goal, who netted the crucial equaliser to cancel out Darren McCauley's exquisite finish after 23 minutes.

In some quarters, this will be viewed as two points dropped by Stute. But it was far from it. Their manager Paul Kee was satisfied with a share of the spoils, considering his team finished with 10 men following the dismissal of defender Stephen O'Donnell eight minutes from time. The draw puts the Drumahoe men joint top with Dundela.

The first half proved an evenly-contested affair with both sides keeping the ball on the deck despite the difficult playing conditions. Dergview threatened first, with visiting goalkeeper Micheal Doherty comfortably saving a pile-driver from towering midfielder Adam Lecky, following a quick interchange of passes between Richard Clarke and Gareth Sproule. Defender Dale Maxwell then headed narrowly wide from a Darren Higginbotham corner before Tom Carlin glanced a header inches the wrong side of a post at the opposite end from a teasing McCauley cross.

McCauley was beginning to influence matters and on 23 minutes he drew first blood for Stute. The in-form midfielder received a pass from marauding left-back Colm McLaughlin, and from just inside the area, he curled the ball with perfect precision inside the base of Jack Boggs's left upright. Moments later, Boggs got down smartly to gather a daisy-cutter from Carlin before Dergview hit back to level 11 minutes before the break. Stute only partially cleared their lines from a Higginbotham corner, home skipper Colin Robinson whipped the ball back in the danger area for substitute Mark Lecky to head home.

The hosts shaded the verdict for the remainder of the half and in the final minute, Doherty acrobatically tipped over a thunderous strike by Adam Lecky following another Higginbotham corner.

Both sides created early openings on the resumption of the second half. Sproule scampered away on the left to pull back for Maxwell who brilliantly connected first time, only to see his goal-bound effort strike team-mate Adam Lecky.

Paul Kee's men were beginning to dictate matters, as McFadden came in off the right flank to curl well over, before midfielder Gary Henderson speared inches past Boggs's right post from all off 25 yards.

Having spent some time in the trenches, Dergview were soon back on the offensive, with Doherty parrying another stinging hit by Adam Lecky, with Sproule steering agonisingly wide on the follow-up.

Two minutes later, the home faithful thought their side had snatched a possible winner but their celebrations were cut short when Adam Lecky's header from a Maxwell free kick was chalked off for offside.

Dergview appeared to find a second wind, and the pendulum swung in the home side's favour when centre-back O'Donnell was red carded for a reckless challenge on Higginbotham as the striker attempted to race onto Clarke's ball over the top.

Both sides pushed for a winner, but neither created that crucial opening to clinch all three points.

 

Championship Two:

 

Lurgan Celtic 0 Queen’s University 1

Lurgan Celtic lost 1-0 to Queen’s University in a pulsating match in which they deserved at least a point. In arduous conditions, credit must go to both teams who served up a feisty affair and kept the sizeable crowd on the edge of their seats right up to the final whistle.

As is the norm now this season, Celtic went into the game missing several players for various reasons including Boyd (Flu), Fox (suspended), McArdle (injured) McCabe (holiday), McAnallen (injured) so manager O’Kane drafted in John Campbell and Stephen Magennis, and the two veterans rolled back the years to help out the Hoops in their hour of need.

Indeed the back four of Paul McAnallen, John Cochrane, Jamie Collins and Caolan Campbell surely had to be the youngest lining out for Celtic in many a year.

Despite the overnight rain, the pitch coped well and the game started with chances at a premium, with Celtic showing signs of promise, with the direct running of Marshall and Toland.

In the fifth minute, a pass from Marshall found Magennis but his cross drifted wide. It wasn’t until the 19th minute that either team threatened to break the deadlock, when good build-up play by Toland resulted in Marshalls cross just missing Fitzpatrick who should have scored.

The remaining minutes of the first half didn’t produce many chances, as the game was predominantly contested in the middle third and it was the 41-year-old John Campbell who was dictating play from his deep lying midfield role.   The second half started in much the same vein as the first, with Celtic on top but lacking any real threat up front as top scorer Fitzpatrick dropped deep to get on the ball. Manager O’Kane recognised the shift that Magennis had put in up front, and replaced him with fresh legs in Ciaran Conway in the 50th minute. Despite being on top, the inexperience in Celtic’s defence was exposed in the 55th minute when a deep cross from the left allowed the Queen’s winger to ghost in at the back post to break the deadlock and gives Queen’s the advantage.

From the kick-off, the home side didn’t drop the heads and indeed should have restored parity almost immediately when Fitzpatrick blazed wide when well placed, but it was clear that Celtic would produce further chances.

The home side’s task was helped in the 60th minute when a Queen’s defender received his marching orders after raising his hands to Rodgers.

Celtic continued to press for the equalizer and had the best chance in the final minute when Conway somehow missed from close range to the disappointment of the home support.

After a few heavy defeats in recent games, it was a much improved display in both performance and effort. Although it was a defeat, O’Kane can take many positives from his very youthful side and indeed displays from Collins and Cochrane in the heart of defence to deal with the dangerous Lavery for Queen’s can only bode well for future games. With players hopefully returning in the coming weeks, it is hoped that this display can be turned into points to break away from the relegation battle, and next up is an away trip to face Chimney Corner.

In a close contest, the McLeans sponsored man-of-the-match was awarded to John Campbell.

The club would like to thank Roy Kennedy Fuels for sponsoring the match ball.

 

Armagh City 3 Glebe Rangers 0

Armagh City strengthened their grip at the top of the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two following their latest win over Glebe Rangers.

The Holm Park side were slow out of the blocks and the visitors almost took advantage when a curling Tommy Elder 25-yard shot struck the crossbar before bouncing to safety.

City eventually settled into an attacking pattern and should have opened their account on 20 minutes, but Glebe keeper Brian Kane pulled off tremendous back-to-back saves to deny midfielders Kevin Keegan and Matthew Hynds.

The game was now flowing, and Armagh were unlucky when Shea McGerrigan's shot flew acoss goal but, moments later, they had right wing-back Dale Montgomey to thank for a goal-line clearance from the rampant Elder.

The deadlock was eventually broken on the stroke of half-time with a superb goal.

A ball into the danger area to Gareth Grimley was flicked into the path of Shea McGerrigan who, in turn, placed a perfect ball across the six-yard box where striker Stephen Murray pounced to give Armagh the lead.

But Glebe still had time to fight back, and almost levelled matters but shooting efforts from Elder, Ian Christie and Aaron Williamson were thwarted by superb defensive play.

After the break, City upped their game and McGerrigan and Grimley had early chances.

But, on 54 minutes, Armagh did get their reward when Glebe keeper Kane was sold short with a back-pass and Murray beat him to the ball, firing into an empty net after rounding the unfortunate stopper.

And midway through the half, it was a defensive slip-up once again for Rangers when a mix-up between Kane and Chris Nicholl left Shea McGerrigan in the clear and, once again, the empty net was found.

Despite these reverses, Glebe never gave in and were denied several scoring chances before the end of this pulsating affair.

 

Annagh United 3 Sport & Leisure Swifts 1

It took only four minutes for Annagh to find the net as Stretton’s cross was met by Adam Nesbitt who headed in. Twenty minutes later, and Annagh centre-half Acheson was red-carded while Gallagher forced Wright into a smart save soon after. And with three minutes to the break, a long range looped effort from Moore sailed into the net to level the score.

The second half seen Annagh play some great passing football.

Nugent made two stunning saves from Stretton and Bell, but could not keep Shea Campbell at bay on 65 minutes, as he tucked Nesbitt’s cross home.

On 73 minutes, Gallagher again tested Wright and Matty Brown was unlucky five minutes later. Ten minutes remained when Adam Nesbitt secured his brace, and the 10- man Annagh victory, when he beat Moore and Quinn to score from a tight angle.

 

PSNI 2 Wakehurst 3

Wakehurst arrived at Newforge without a win in their last four outings.

The PSNI, on the other hand, were within touching distance of the top of the league with the best goal difference in Championship Two. 

Despite playing controlled football in the middle of the park, the PSNI seldom threatened the Wakehurst goal. 

Wakehurst though played a much more attacking game and were always a threat to Wilson, in the PSNI goal.

On 16 minutes, a route-one by Wakehurst caught the police napping and Gregg made no mistake.

On 20 minutes, the police equalised against the run of play, when McDermott headed in a Mark Anderson corner.  

On 50 minutes Gregg, was again given too much space on the edge of the box and struck a sweet ball to the back of the net.

PSNI equalised through an own-goal from a corner. Police had an opportunity to take the lead when a well-struck volley was brilliantly saved by the Wakehurst keeper.

Wakehurst continued to pressurise the police, looking for a winner, when on 80 minutes the police captain, Noel Anderson, appeared to pull down a Wakehurst player, who would have been through on goal. He was given a straight red.

Wakehurst never relented and they received their just reward on 93 minutes, when Mellon wrapped it up for the visitors.

 

Killymoon Rangers 0 Portstewart 1

Killymoon entertained Portstewart at the Mid Ulster Arena on Saturday afternoon, and despite playing some great football at times, it was the side from the north coast who went away with all three points.

The visitors started brightly, with Forgrave putting in an early cross for Dunlop, but the ball sailed harmlessly over everyone. Moments later, a long throw came in from the visitors but Purvis headed the danger away.

Donaghy was the first from the home side to try his luck on goal after a good lay-off from Harkness, but Donaghy’s shot sliced harmlessly wide. Donaghy nearly got on the end of a ball over the top form Young, but Madison in the Portstewart goal was alert to the danger and clutched the ball graciously in his arms.

The visitors also tried their luck with a ball over the top, but like his opposite number, home keeper Brown dealt with the danger with a great punch. Up the other end, Campbell put in a great cross for Harkness but the away side’s defence put him under pressure and his header went wide of the post.

Portstewart again tried a ball over the top, but Brown was alert yet again to clear the danger with a perfectly-timed challenge outside the box. Donaghy then flicked the ball on for his strike partner Harkness, but his cut ball across the edge of the box came to nothing.

The visitors had a penalty shout after a tangle in the box between Purvis and Dougherty, but the referee awarded a goal-kick instead.

Donaghy had a half-chance saved, before centre-back Neill unleashed a thunderous drive towards Brown’s goal, but on this occasion the ball sailed wide of the goal.

Campbell found space on the right hand side to put a cross in, but the ball hit the side-netting much to Madison’s relief.

Play stopped just after the half-hour mark when keeper Brown had to be treated for an injury.

Play resumed, but the home keeper had to be substituted,  with Purvis stepping up and taking his place in goal.

McMullan came off the bench as well in a personnel change. Harkness tried his luck from range but his effort was wide of the post.

A miscommunication in the home defence nearly gifted the visitors a goal. Forgrave put in a cross for Dunlop who missed a virtually open net when it would have been easier to score.

At the other end, great link up play between Young, Donaghy and Harkness eventually allowed Young to try his luck with a volley, but his effort went over the bar.

Campbell put in another dangerous cross with Donaghy nearly getting on the end of it, but the ball fell into the arms of the visiting keeper.

Against the run of play,  Portstewart took the lead. The corner on the right came in from skipper Pedan.

Eventually the ball fell to Dougherty, who somehow squeezed the ball into the corner of the net.

The home side had one last chance before the break, with McMullan just unable to get on the end of McEllhatton’s free kick.

The visitors started the second half the brightest, with Purvis punching a ball over the top away from danger before a long throw from Dougherty found Todd but his header was wide. Up the other end, Harkness had a shot cleared for a corner and McEllhatton’s resultant ball eventually made its way to Young, but his effort was cleared away from danger.

Moments later, the Portstewart defence was caught napping and substitute Hunter took full advantage to tee up Donaghy.

His shot was blocked, but the follow-up fell to Harkness, but it hit the side-netting. Hunter tried his luck from range after a lay-off from Donaghy, but his effort was over the bar.

Dougherty tried his luck for the visitors, but his effort was saved comfortably by Purvis despite a slight deflection. Purvis was on-hand again minutes later to punch a Pedan free-kick away from danger.

Dougherty, after a great run, cut inside to try his luck from range but his effort was wide of Purvis’ goal. On the right, a Forgrave cross sailed straight into Purvis’ arms before the home keeper again punched a Pedan free kick away from danger.

Up the other end, the home side’s clever short corner found Young who put a cross into the far post for Ferry, but his header was wide of the post.

McEllhatton’s free kick a few minutes later found McMullan at the far post who headed the ball across, but the visiting defence dealt with the danger.

After good link up play between Harkness and Hunter, Donaghy tried his luck from range but he was unable to get solid contact on the shot and the ball went wide. Up the other end, only great defending one-on-one from Ferry on Dunlop prevented the visitors from having a clear run on goal.

Straight up the other end, Campbell put in a cross for Donaghy but Madison was alert to get to the ball first. Ferry then put a ball into the box soon after, but Neill headed the ball out of danger.

Young fired a free-kick wide, before his corner found Neill who headed the ball across and although the ball was initially cleared, the ball fell kindly to Campbell who volleyed over the bar.

Dunn came off the bench for the home side and looked lively. He was able to create a chance for himself but his effort sailed wide of the goal. Purvis had to deal with another Pedan free-kick and from the counter-attack, lovely play between Dunn, Hunter and Donaghy eventually enabled Harkness to get a shot away, but it was blocked.

Ferry tried his luck with a long throw into the box but Neill cleared the ball away as the referee blew the final whistle.

Up next for Killymoon is another home game, this time against Annagh United, with a 3pm kick-off at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena. All support is most welcome.

 

Steel & Sons Cup quarter-final

Ballyclare Comrades 2 Bangor 1

After a nervous start, Comrades grabbed the opener in the eighth minute, when Chris Trussell converted a low ball into the six-yard box from Kyle Agnew.

Bangor had the lion's share of possession for the rest of the half. In the 26th minute, they got back on level terms when Mark Cooling converted a penalty, after Chris Trussell was adjudged to have committed a foul in the box.

Bangor continued to force the pace in the second half, but were denied by some stout defending from the home side, good goalkeeping from Paddy Flood, and some bad luck, which saw them foiled on a number of occasions by the woodwork.

Against the run of play, it was Comrades who snatched the decisive goal in the 81st minute, when Kyle Agnew surged into the box and shot home at the second attempt from five yards to secure a semi-final spot for his team.

 

Craig Memorial Cup semi-final

Moyola Park 5 Limavady United 2 

A first half hat-trick by Chris Dowie sent Moyola Park on the way to a first Craig Memorial Cup Final since Boxing Day 2006, when a 4-2 victory against Institute completed a run of five wins in seven years.

Championship One side Limavady United were outplayed during the opening half, giving Mervyn Pattison's side a relatively easy task of reaching a sixth final since 2000.

That man Dowie opened the scoring after 12 minutes when he cleverly directed an overhead kick past Conor Brown from close range.

Four minutes later, Dowie doubled his tally when he took advantage of an excellent through-ball from Eugene Gallagher. Midway through the first half, Brown did well to prevent Sean McConnell's header entering the Limavady United net, the latter having got on the end of a Davy Paul through ball.

As the half-hour mark approached, a Michael Walsh corner kick on the left created the opening for Eugene Gallagher to notch Moyola Park's third goal past Brown's outstretched hands.

Conor Deane shot narrowly over the Limavady United crossbar three minutes before the interval, but there was still time for Dowie to complete his hat-trick when he slotted the ball into the visitor's net following a well worked free-kick by Walsh.

Timmy Dixon's sidecame out for the second half with much more spirit, and within six minutes, Gary McFadden opened their tally, giving his side a much needed boost.

Just beyond the hour mark, Declan Logue missed a good opportunity to bring his side back into the tie, but he failed to test Marty Farniok.

One minute later, Gallagher's pass found Darren Walls who scored from the edge of the six-yard box to renew Moyola Park's four goal advantage.

Moyola Park manager Mervyn Pattison made three substitutions in quick succession, Steven Kenning replacing Deane, Maurice Curtis replacing Gallagher and Stephen McConnell replacing Dowie.

Ten minutes from the end, Johnny Hume beat Farniok with an excellent strike from just inside the penalty area. Two minutes later, a McFadden effort on goal was saved by Farniok.

Just before the final whistle, an excellent pass from Kenning put Sean McConnell through on goal, but he blasted the ball over the Limavady United crossbar.

Moyola Park get back to Championship Two action on Saturday October 26, with a home fixture against Wakehurst at 3pm.

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