NIFL Championship round-up, October 10
All the latest from Championship One and Two:
Annagh United 1 Bangor 3
In the Friday evening kick-off at Tandragee Road, third-placed Annagh were hoping to close the gap at the top, but Bangor were not in charitable mood. Jay Gardiner opened the scoring for Annagh from the spot on 17 minutes after Scott McCordick had been fouled in the area by Colin Nixon. Gerard McMullan finished off with a left foot drive to level matters before the break and Bangor went close to taking the lead early in the second half when Barry Walsh fired an effort wide. The inevitable goal for Bangor finally came when Andy Morrow fired in a low cross from the by-line and Stephen Curry blasted the ball into the top corner. Curry was causing problems for the home defence and when he rounded Robinson in the Annagh goal and squared for Paul McDowell to score the insurance goal, Bangor were assured of the points and the gap to Annagh was narrowed to one point.
Larne 2 H&W Welders 1
Larne moved into fourth place following a fully deserved 2-1 win over league leaders Harland & Wolff Welders. It was the first defeat of the season for the Welders, who finished the game with nine men. The Reds were on top from the off and went close to going ahead on five minutes. Stuart McMullan’s pass sent James McCabe clear and he was unlucky to see his low drive strike the upright. Four minutes before the break, Larne took the lead. Guillame Keke won the ball wide on the right and drove it into the danger zone, where Darren Stuart was on-hand to provide the finish. Five minutes after the break, the sides were level. Davy Rainey slipped the ball to Ryan Deans, and his shot crept in at the near post. Larne did not let the heads drop and were unlucky not to get a second two minutes later when Keke’s free-kick struck the crossbar. The Frenchman was not to be denied, however. A ball over the top from Kevin Bradley found Keke and his precision lob sailed over Michael Dougherty into the net. Tommy Robinson and Gerald Gillan tested Dougherty in the closing stages, as the visitors had Michael McLellan and Neil Dougan red-carded.
Ards 1 Armagh City 0
Ards were seeking a response to last week's first league defeat. Returning from injury and suspension were left-back Thomas Lamb, midfielder Ben Brown and winger Craig McMillan. The home side took control from the off, with most of the danger coming from Ards' left side and were close to scoring early on when Brown fired just wide of Connolly's goal. McKee also shot wide and Arthurs missed what seemed an easy back post header.The Armagh side, while competing well, were not threatening the Ards goal with only a wide Haveron free kick being their only effort. The second half saw the home side step up the pace and the breakthrough finally came in the 60th minute, when again, McMillan crossed for Arthurs to rise highest and head beautifully past Connolly. Armagh responded by throwing men forward but again, Brown remained untested as Cully and Convery were winning everything in defence. Ards manager Currie introduced McAllister, Boyd, and Templeton for the tiring McMillan, McKee, and Brown, and with a new freshness, Ards again took control and eased to a comfortable win and a solid three points.
Tobermore United 5 Dundela 0
Five goals in an impressive first half secured the points for Tobermore United. Dundela however were the best side for the first 15 minutes of this entertaining game, playing some neat football and giving home stopper Matty McGraw plenty to do, but that all changed when Neil Lamont, fired two quick goals past a helpless James Taylor on 16 and 18 minutes. It was now the home side who dominated, and creating the majority of chances and it was no more than they deserved, when Dean Stewart fired in number three on the half hour mark. Lamont got his hat-trick three minutes later to make it 4-0 and Trevor Parkhill made it five on the stroke of half time. The second half was always going to be an anti-climax after the five-star first but that said, both sides created plenty of goal-scoring opportunities with Mathew Burrows and Nathan Jones both bringing good saves out of McGraw. Lamont had two good chances to add to his tally, but Taylor was determined that five was enough, and he made some excellent stops, and when substitute Dean Brown shook off his marker and unleashed a powerful close range shot, he must have thought he’d scored, but Taylor somehow got a strong hand on the ball to prevent the young striker getting on the score-sheet.
Limavady United 2 Sport & Leisure Swifts 2
Limavady United kept their unbeaten record going despite playing for over an hour with 10 men. The game started in sensational fashion, with a penalty awarded for the home side after just 70 seconds when Owens was tripped inside the box, and Friel sent the keeper the wrong way for his 18th goal of the season. On 27 minutes, Kevin Lynch was cynically tripped by Wells just outside the box and was shown a red card. Swifts equalised in the 55th minute through Glenholmes, who volleyed the ball into Kelly’s goal from the edge of the box when given too much time and space. On 65 minutes the Roesiders were back in front with an excellent goal. Tommons fired over a tantalising defence-splitting cross for McMullan lurking at the back post to score with a diving header, but in the 81st minute, referee Maguire pointed to the spot. Swifts captain Johnston duly converted the penalty and the points were shared.
Queens University 3 Coagh United 2
After just seven minutes, referee Taylor awarded a penalty to the visitors for a push in the box and Jamie Tumelty’s powerful drive gave Declan Brown no chance. On 35 minutes, Queens got a deserved equaliser. Following a good run on the left, Matt Hughes got to the by-line and pulled the ball back for Patrick Stuart to score. Two minutes later, good play on the left wing resulted in Anthony Stuart finding James Lavery who fired a low left-footer into the bottom corner. Right on half time, Coagh equalised with a close-range header from a corner. Coagh attacked strongly after the break, but it was Queens' Patrick Stuart who grabbed the decisive goal with a powerful shot from outside the box into the bottom corner with half an hour left. Hughes got clear of the Coagh defence, but his shot was weak and straight at Coagh keeper William Hassan. Daniel Hanna had a great chance with from close range, but his header was again straight at Hassan. Coagh dominated possession towards the end of the game, but many crosses into the box came to nothing.
Moyola Park 0 Banbridge Town 0
Despite the perfect conditions, neither side was able to bring the finesse to the game which both sets of supporters hoped to see. In the second minute, Conor McNamee, who replaced Australia-bound Craig McAllister at right back, crossed to Chris Dowie, who headed over the visitors' crossbar. In the 10th minute, Marcin Farniok failed to hold a corner kick, but Town's Ryan Gourley couldn't take advantage. Half-way through the opening half, a McNamee corner kick was headed wide by Danny McIlhatton and a 30-yard effort by McIlhatton went narrowly wide of Stephen Croft's goal 12 minutes before the break. The second half was somewhat pedestrian. Neither side was sufficiently composed on the ball to seriously threaten the goalkeepers but for one occasion when a McIlhatton header was cleared off the Banbridge goal-line with Croft beaten. Conor Downey posed a threat to the home defence but McNamee coped well with his jinking runs. Gourley came closest to finding the Moyola Park net but Farniok easily gathered the ball.
Dollingstown 3 Newington 3
Newington's Ryan Mc Closkey scored the opening goal on eight minutes with a delightful chip into the top corner following a corner kick. An equaliser arrived on 18 minutes, when a quick long ball from his keeper beat the last defender and Thompson ran in to lob the ball home. The lead didn't last very long, as two minutes later, Newington went in front again after poor defensive play down the left allowed the ball to be squared for Joe Todd to side-foot home. The third goal in as many minutes saw DFC draw level again, as Thompson was brought down in the box, and Lavery did the business from the penalty spot. Newington opened strongly in the second half but on 52 minutes sub Redpath got the ball out on the right and his cross to the feet of Gibson was squared for Thompson to give Dollingstown the lead for the first time and the hope of all three points but Newington levelled on 82 minutes when Todd got his second of the afternoon, when a long cross-field ball from the right wing was headed back across goal for him to tuck home.
Belfast Telegraph Digital