Jackson inspires Mossley to last-gasp win as focus turns to Cup final
Mossley completed their preparation for this afternoon's Kirk Cup final against Kilkeel at Stormont (3pm) when they moved into the Ulster Premier League's top four by beating North Down on Saturday.
Ricky Lee's lads squeezed out a 3-2 win over their Comber rivals but they needed a little bit of help from experienced Irish international John Jackson, who set up their last-gasp winner by supplying the cross which Simon Todd converted.
Jackson, back home from England for Christmas, is eligible to play in the league and Kirk Cup final for his home-town club and he proved his worth with a never-say-die attitude which helped turn a two-goal deficit for the Newtownabbey team into a dramatic win in the dying seconds of the game.
North Down looked comfortable as James Clarke and Matthew Shannon shot them into a 2-0 lead.
But then Ryan Lyall and Ross McIvor levelled matters before Jackson set up Todd to snatch the late winner.
Kirk Cup opponents Kilkeel brought forward their game to midweek and the 8-2 win over Portadown shows they are determined to get their hands on the trophy for the first time in their history.
It's Bangor who remain top of the table, though, with Ryan Burgess striking twice more for the Seasiders in a 3-0 win over second-bottom Raphoe.
Belfast Harlequins and Instonians are now joint-second after both chalked up wins.
The Quins romped to a 9-0 success against Cliftonville with Luke McClelland top scorer of the day with four, while teammate Michael McKenna grabbed a hat-trick.
Inst beat South Antrim 3-1 at Shaw's Bridge but found it hard to see off a side that showed spirit and adventure throughout.
Stuart McWilliams put them ahead when he forced the ball home following a William Robinson penalty corner and just after half-time Matthew McCord made it two from a McWilliams cross.
Ben Palmer got their third on the reverse just short of the hour mark after good work by Chris Kirk and Ross McKnight but the South were rewarded for their efforts with a late consolation from Adam Glass.
Newry Olympic and Queen's, meanwhile, edged further clear of the trouble zone, both producing away wins.
The border men beat Antrim 4-1 at the Forum to put daylight between them and the bottom five teams while the Students came out on top in a nine-goal thriller at Civil Service.
Callum Anderson led the way for Queen's with a brace of goals but it was disappointment again for Ulster's top scorer Chris Barnes, who also scored twice but again saw Service end up on the losing side.
Today's Kirk Cup showpiece between Mossley and Kilkeel starts at 3pm at Stormont Playball. It is preceded by the women's Denman Ulster Shield final between holders Lurgan and Queen's (1pm).
Ulster Premier League: Civil Service 4 (C Barnes 2, R Anderson, M Willis) Queen's 5 (C Anderson 2, J Hermon, D Reid, R Wolsely); Mossley 3 (R Lyall, R McIvor, S Todd) North Down 2 (J Clarke, M Shannon); Antrim 1 (S Clyde) Newry 4 (M Russell, K Fletcher, D England, J Greer); Bangor 3 (R Burgess 2, D McClune) Raphoe 0; Belfast Harlequins 9 (L McClelland 4, M McKenna 3, J Wilson, M Gray) Cliftonville 0; Instonians 3 (S McWilliams, M McCord, B Palmer) South Antrim 1 (A Glass).