Championship Roundup Week 5: Comrades Stay Top of the Pile

NIFL Championship

All 12 Championship teams were in action over the weekend, starting on Friday night when Newry City played hosts to Portadown, before it was the turn of the remaining 10 teams on Saturday afternoon. We’re back again to look back at all the action, starting with Friday night’s fixture.

Newry City 1 Portadown 4

Portadown bounced straight back to winning ways with a convincing win over Newry at The Showgrounds on Friday night. Chris Lavery gave the Ports the lead, Newry were then denied by the woodwork before defender John Boyle drew the sides level. John Connolly ensured the sides were level at the break when he saved a Newry effort low to his right. After the break it was Portadown’s turn to be denied by the woodwork when Fra Brennan hit the post following a Kyle McVey mishit from a corner. The Ports then took the lead when Lavery found the net a second time and further strikes from Peter Duffin and substitute Kevin Amuneke made sure of the victory.

Harland and Wolff Welders 3 Institute 2

The Welders have had a stuttering start to the season but this win over Stute sees them currently sitting 6th in the league. It was Stute who had the ball in the goal first but the celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s offside flag, Stute scored again through Michael McCrudden after 32 minutes and this time there was no offside flag. The opening stages of the second half seen plenty of goalmouth action with three goals in less than 15 minutes. First the Welders drew themselves level when Craig Harris scored with a great strike into the bottom corner 30 yards from goal, Stute then restored their lead when McCrudden scored his second goal of the afternoon but this time their lead lasted just 4 minutes when a free kick from Chris Middleton was headed home by Scott McMillan. After 64 minutes the Welders took the lead for the first time in the game when Ross Arthurs headed in from 6 yards, Stute’s misery was compounded when late in the game Niall Grace was shown a straight red card.

Knockbreda 2 Limavady United 1

Breda have now won three games on the spin and are now sitting 4th in the league following Saturday’s victory over the Roesiders on Saturday. The first half of the game offered little to report about and the first goal of the game didn’t come until close to the 70 minute mark when a Hugh Carlin strike took a deflection and found its way past David Ferguson in the Breda goal to give United the lead. Breda were level almost right away through a Leis Irwin strike late in the game the win was sealed when Karl Hamill scored to give Knockbreda the points.

Larne 1 Ballyclare Comrades 1

Going into this game Ballyclare were ahead on goal difference but this result against bottom side Larne, who are still looking for their first win this season, moved them a point clear of Portadown. Larne started the game on top but just couldn’t do enough to take the lead and eventually it was the Comrades who took the lead when Dean Youle scored against the run of play. After dominating for the majority of the first half Larne will feel they got what they deserved when Daniel Reynolds converted a free-kick to pull the sides level late in the half. After 73 minutes Mark Kelly thought he had headed the Comrades into the lead but after a lengthy delay the goal was ruled out for a foul on the keeper much to the frustration of the Ballyclare men. In the end it was honours even but as he teams left the pitch it seems that Larne player Barry Holland was shown a straight red card.

Lurgan Celtic 1 Loughgall 2

Lurgan Celtic suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday when they went down in a close encounter against Loughgall. The first half was a rather scrappy affair with both sets of defenders and keepers dealing with anything that was thrown at them with relative ease. Just as both sets of supporters were deciding what to have for their half-time refreshments Loughgall took the lead when the broke away down the right hand side, Jordon Gibson thought he had cleared the danger but the ball fell to an unmarked Andrew Hoey, whose shot into the ground spun up and over Shane McPartlan in the Celtic goal. The goal on the stroke of half-time seemed to shock Celtic into life and they started the second half all guns blazing with Philip Donnelly, half-time substitute Aaron Haire and Warner Mullan all going close for the home side but it was Loughgall who scored next to double their lead, another clearance fortuitously fell nicely for midfielder Mark McConnell who hammered a shot beyond the reach of McPartlan. Adam Rodgers pulled one back for Celtic but it was too little too late and after two defeats in a row Loughgall will be relieved to get another three points on the table.

PSNI 5 Dergview 2

PSNI continued their solid start to the season at Newforge on Saturday, while along with Larne Dergview are still looking for their first win of the season and now are only ahead of bottom side Larne on goal difference. PSNI broke the deadlock after 19 minutes and just two minutes later it was 2-0. Just two minutes after half-time PSNI scored their 3rd of the game and the match looked to be as good as over at this stage. Two goals in quick succession for PSNI made it 5-0 before Dergview scored two late consolation goals through Simon McGlynn and Wayne McManus to finish the scoring.

That’s it for this week’s action in The Championship but tomorrow we’ll return to have a look the the league so far this season.