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Title tussle a two-horse race as rivals fall

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Kept out: Annadale goalkeeper Jonny Moore does all he can to deny Bruce McCandless of Banbridge

Kept out: Annadale goalkeeper Jonny Moore does all he can to deny Bruce McCandless of Banbridge

Kept out: Annadale goalkeeper Jonny Moore does all he can to deny Bruce McCandless of Banbridge

The Ulster Premier League title battle is developing into a straight fight between old rivals Banbridge and Lisnagarvey.

The Big Two won again on Saturday to maintain a healthy lead at the top and with Garvey coming from two goals down to beat fellow contenders Cookstown 3-2 at Coolnafranky, the only other serious challengers now seem to be Instonians.

There's no stopping Bann at the top, though, as they made it 10 straight league wins with a comfortable 5-2 success over Annadale.

Josh Moffat pounced on two of his penalty corner rebounds and then Stephen Dowds scored the goal of the game with a sweet shot on the reverse stick.

A Matthew Bell drag flick and a Simon Magowan goal from open play completed the Banbridge scoring, with the Dale goals coming from a James Cox penalty corner variation and William Edgar, who returned to action following an injury in which he lost the tip of one of his fingers.

Garvey looked in trouble when goals from Gareth Cuddy and Greg Allen left them trailing 2-0, but Timmy Cockram struck twice with goals created by Daniel Nelson and Sean Murray, with Richard Arneill getting the other with a fine finish on the reverse.

Instonians survived a late Mossley rally to win 5-4 at The Glade, with second-half goals from John Watson, Alan Patterson and William Robinson.

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Jordan Robinson scored against his former club as Mossley showed resilience and second-half goals from Neil Glassey, Aaron Boyd and Colin McLean almost earned them a point.

Gareth Russell scored the only goal as Kilkeel won at Raphoe and that keeps the Donegal side in the basement area with Civil Service, who went down 4-0 at Belfast Harlequins.

In Senior One, the leading trio – North Down, Newry and Portadown – all won again to keep the title race wide open.

And all three had decisive wins over Campbellians, Bangor and Antrim respectively.

Top scorers of the day though came from South Antrim who hit 10 against Cliftonville.

e THE McCullough Cup final, between Lisburn rivals Wallace High and Friends, is 2.30pm on Wednesday at Lisnagarvey.

Ulster Premier League: Raphoe 0 Kilkeel; 1 (G Russell); Banbridge 5 (J Moffatt 2, M Bell, S Dowds, S Magowan) Annadale; 2 (J Cox, W Edgar); Cookstown 2 (G Cuddy, G Allen) Lisnagarvey 3 (T Cockram 2, R Arneill); Mossley 4 (J Robinson, N Glassey, A Boyd, C McLean) Instonians 5 (J Watson 2, J Corry, A Patterson, W Robinson); Civil Service 0 Belfast Harlequins 4 (C Lemon 2, R McKnight, I Steen)

Senior One: Newry 6 (R Nummy 3, J Taylor 2, K McCombe) Bangor 1 (R Tate); North Down 7 (T Donnan 2, G Bailie 2, S Watt, A McGimpsey, C Speers) Campbellians 1 (C Mack); Portadown 6 (S Johnston 2, G Titler, G Croft, J Wright, Z McClelland) Antrim 1 (R Brown); South Antrim 10 (P Maguire 2, M Conn, A Glass, W Phillips, A Marshall, L Marshall, P Cochrane, M Getty) Cliftonville 1 (D Curragh)


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