Championship Roundup: Limavady Into Top Half

NIFL Championship

There was another full programme of Championship action at the weekend with one game taking place on Friday night and the remaining five games taking place on Saturday afternoon. Once again the Championship proved itself to be good value for money with 15 goals being scored across the 6 games, only two teams failing to score and no scoreless games. We start this week’s roundup by looking at Friday night’s match.

Newry City 1 Harland and Wolff Welders 1

After a perfect October in the league for Newry, with three wins from three matches and Decky Carville’s Player of the Month award providing the icing on the cake, Newry got off to a solid start to November as the Welders dropped points again this season as they slipped into 7th place. A number of chances were missed by Newry but they finally took the lead when James Walker finished into the bottom corner from 12 yards out. Just when it looked like Newry had the points in the bag for the 5th game in a row Scott McMillan popped up to equalise right at the death, the draw keeps Newry 5th in the table.

Ballyclare Comrades 1 Dergview 0

Ballyclare remain top of the table, three points clear of second-placed Institute thanks to this win over Dergview at Dixon Park. The Comrades almost took the lead after 10 minutes when Thomas Wray headed against his own post when defending a corner. At the other end, Paddy Flood had to be alert to save a Richard Lynch effort following a corner. After 41 minutes the Comrades scored what would prove to be the only goal of the game, when Graeme Taylor brought down Stewart Nixon inside the box and Nixon himself stepped up to convert the subsequent penalty. The Comrades went on to dominate the second half but just couldn’t extend their lead further but hung on to get the win despite some late Dergview pressure. Dergview remain 11th despite the defeat but their lead over bottom side Larne has been reduced to only goal difference.

Larne 1 Loughgall 1

Larne remain bottom of the table after this home draw with Loughgall but they have managed to go five games unbeaten and subsequently have drawn level with Dergview on points and trail them only on goal difference. Larne started brightly with Daniel Reynolds going close after 12 minutes but the Villagers fired Larne a warning shot after 30 minutes when Craig Taylor’s effort was well tipped over by Conor Devlin. Four minutes into the second half David Abe rounded Gareth Buchanan in the Loughgall goal but he saw his shot cleared off the line by a recovering defender before Devlin thwarted Taylor again. Larne looked to be facing an uphill battle when with an hour gone Julien Anau was shown a red card following a confrontation with both sets of players. Loughgall opened the scoring after 69 minutes when Larne failed to clear a corner and Marcus Dallas hit a low shot into the bottom corner, though another confrontation just after the goal saw Dallas receive his second yellow card to make it 10v10 for the remainder of the game. This seemed to galvanise Larne who went in search of the equaliser, going close on a few occasions before Abe sent a deflected effort past Buchanan in injury time. The result keeps Loughgall as they were in 4th place.

Limavady United 3 Knockbreda 1

After getting back on track last week with a 3-0 win over PSNI, Knockbreda crashed to defeat away to Limavady on Saturday with United continuing their good start to the season to move into 6th place and the top half. The first half presented few, if any, talking points and it took until the 62nd minute for the first goal of the game when Lewis Irwin scored from close range to give Breda the lead. The lead only lasted two minutes though as Ryan Logue picked up the ball on the halfway line and beat the attention of the Breda defence to go on and score and level things up again. United took the lead in the 86th minute when Robbie Hume took advantage of a poorly attempted clearance to play the ball into substitute Joel Bradley who tapped home. The points were sealed in injury time when Bradley reacted to a Paul Owens free-kick coming back off the bar to score from close range again. Knockbreda dropped down a place to 3rd after this game.

Institute 2 Portadown 2

Portadown broke the deadlock in this game after just 6 minutes when Marty Gallagher saved well from Gary Warwick but from the resulting corner Kyle Neil’s delivery deceived everyone and flew straight into the net, not for the first time this season. Stute were level midway through the half thanks to a corner of their own, Aaron Harkin delivered the ball into the box and Dean Curry headed home unmarked from close range. The Ports restored their lead before the break though when Chris Lavery fired past Gallagher following some poor defending. In the second half Stute brought on Jake Morrow and it was Morrow who scored the equaliser as his 20-yard effort deflected past Chris McGaughey. Stute went close to winning the game, with Niall Grace having a few chances, but it would stay honours even though both sides may look at this as two points dropped. A draw wasn’t enough to keep Stute 2nd and they have been overtaken by Knockbreda, Portadown are sitting in 8th place.

PSNI 2 Lurgan Celtic 0

PSNI will be delighted to end a rot of 4 defeats on the spin and this win was enough to move them above their opponents on Saturday into 9th place, with Celtic now 10th in the table. The game was over by half-time thanks to goals from Chris Watts and Owen Moody.

We’ve another full programme of Championship action to look forward to this weekend with the following fixtures:

Loughgall v Newry City – Friday night

Harland and Wolff Welders v Limavady United

Institute v Larne

Knockbreda v Portadown

PSNI v Ballyclare Comrades

Dergview v Lurgan Celtic