Banbridge Confirm Top Six Spot

NIFL Premier Intermediate League

With just one more full set of fixtures to be played in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (PIL), there were four matches played on Saturday in the division with a further two taking place last night.

Banbridge Town 1 Moyola Park 1(Saturday)

Banbridge knew that they could secure a top six finish last night thanks to this point at home to Moyola on Saturday. It was Moyola who went closest to scoring first when Benjamin Agnew couldn’t hit the target when well placed, Banbridge responded with a chance from Ryan Moffatt and James Wilson caused some problems for the Moyola rear-guard but neither side were able to break the deadlock before the break. Both sides continued to have chances to take the lead in the second-half but it was the 78th minute before the first goal of the game was scored when Aaron Greene headed home from a corner but three minutes from time Moyola equalised when Stuart Forrest took advantage of a mistake in the Banbridge defence.

Portstewart 0 Lisburn Distillery 1 (Saturday)

These sides met for the second time in seven days on Saturday when they played at Seahaven on Saturday with the outcome being exactly the same as the week before at New Grosvenor. Richard Vauls headed wide for Portstewart early on and Luke McDowell also hit the woodwork for the Seahawks with Adam Wright having to be alert to block the follow up. The Whites began to take control of things after the break with Timmy Clarke and Mikey Withers testing Lukasz Bednarz in goal but in the end the winner came from the penalty spot when a home defender was deemed to have handled inside the area. Alan McMurtry missed a penalty the previous week against the same opposition but this time he made no mistake as he slammed the ball home to secure the three points.

Sport and Leisure Swifts 1 Armagh City 3 (Saturday)

Armagh moved ahead of their Sport and Leisure on goal difference on Saturday and now sit in the top six as things stand, the Swifts have a game in hand but some would say that at this stage of the season it’s all about having the points on the board. City scored the first goal in the top three divisions on Saturday when Stefan McKenna had the ball in the net within the first minute of the game and nine minutes later Matthew Hynds had doubled that lead. Armagh all but had the game wrapped up in first-half stoppage time as McKenna scored his second and City’s third of the game but Kevin Lynch did pull one back for the Swifts in the 82nd minute.

Tobermore United 2 Queens University 0 (Saturday)

With Dundela not playing Queens had the chance to move up to 1st place but fell to a 2-0 defeat against Tobermore at Fortwilliam Park, the win also keeps Tobermore in with a chance of a top six finish. Tiarnan Flanagan scored the first goal of the game for Adrian Whiteside’s team just after the 30th minute and top-scorer Conor Kearns doubled the lead just before the hour mark to seal the points.

Lisburn Distillery 5 Annagh United 1 (Tuesday)

Lisburn Distillery may have already secured a top six spot but now have turned the attentions towards a promotion push and boosted those hopes with this convincing win against Annagh last night. Annagh were looking points for a different reason entirely but were never really in the game if truth be told as the Whites dominated from the off but had to make do with a penalty to take the lead which McMurtry duly dispatched and Matthew Ferguson soon doubled the lead with a tap in after Mikey Withers, who caused the Annagh defence problems all night, had an effort saved by the Annagh keeper. Annagh’s task of getting back into the game was made all the more difficult when Gareth Rees was shown a red card before the break. Annagh did pull a goal back but a superb goal from Johnny McCaw and further goals from McMurtry, again from the penalty spot and Ferguson sealed the win and moved the Whites to only a point behind Queens but they have played a game more.

Donegal Celtic 1 Banbridge Town 2

Banbridge secured their spot in the top six last night with this victory but it was late on before the made sure of that as Karl Rossborough put DC in front when he got on the end of his teammates flick on. Banbridge equalised in the last ten minutes of the game when a Conor Downey shot came back off the crossbar but Neil Clydesdale was on hand to score the rebound. In the last minute of play Banbridge scored their winner when Michael Allison was brought down in the box and Timmy Grant scored the resulting penalty.

The fixtures in the PIL are coming thick and fast at the minute as Sport and Leisure were due to play Dundela last night but that game was called off and has now been pencilled in for Thursday. There are also four games on Saturday with a full programme taking place on Tuesday when we will find out for sure who is in the top six and bottom six as the league splits.