The Championship Roundup: Week Two

NIFL Championship

Harland & Wolff Welders 6 Larne 1

Larne scored their first goal of the season but it’s there that the good news ends for them as the Welders romped to their first points of the season at Tillysburn Park on Saturday. A Larne player did have the ball in the back of the net after 10 minutes but unfortunately it was an Elvin Rivera own goal that put the home side in front. Both sides had chances to score following this but the scoreline remained 1-0 at half time but three goals, all from headers, virtue of Scott McMillan, David Rainey and Lukasz Gwiazda surely put the Welders out of sight. Larne did pull a goal back when Chris Fromanger scored with an impressive strike from 20 yards but further goals from Rainey and substitute Josh Boyd, who lobbed the keeper from all of 30 yards ensured Saturday was a day best left forgotten for the men from Inver Park.

Institute 1 Lurgan Celtic 1

Lurgan Celtic followed up last week’s opening day win with an impressive point away to Institute, never an easy place to travel to. Stute boosted their firepower this week with the signing of Robbie Hume from fellow north-west side Limavady. Hume was Limavady’s top scorer last season in the Premier Intermediate League (PIL) and it took him just three minutes to score on his debut and give Stute the lead. Stute pushed and pushed throughout the rest of the game but couldn’t extend their lead and eventually Dara Noonan scored the equaliser for Celtic. Stute would then have a goal disallowed and will perhaps look at this as two points dropped at home.

Knockbreda 1 Ballyclare Comrades 2

Ballyclare sit second in the league as the only side to have won both their opening two games, the Comrades took the lead from the penalty spot after Ryan Arthur conceded a foul. Knockbreda however were well in the game but the Comrades managed to weather the storm and preserve their lead until half time. Ciaran Murray equalised from a superb free kick shortly after the restart and it was after this that the red mist descended as on 54 minutes Mark Kelly was sent off reducing the Comrades to ten men. Shortly after this red card though the referee evened the numbers up when Breda’s Nathan McVeigh was sent for an early bath following a rash challenge. Tempers were beginning to boil over but the Ballyclare side kept their composure and Samuel McIlveen scored what proved to be the winner with another goal from a free kick with 19 minutes to go. There was still time for William McBurney and James Patterson to get sent off ensuring Knockbreda finished with eight men and this will surely give manager Jeff Montgomery a few selection headaches for next week.

Loughgall 2 Dergview 0

After defeat last week against Ballyclare, Loughgall will be delighted to get points on the board with a home win on Saturday. While it’s still early days currently Dergview are only kept off bottom spot by goal difference and will need points asap to avoid getting caught up at the wrong end of the table. Another early goal got Loughgall off to a great start when Andrew Hoey tried a speculative effort from 25 yards and spotted keeper Stefan McCusker off his line. Loughgall had a goal ruled out in the first half when Conor Mullen was adjudged to have been offside after collecting Peter Campbell’s pass. Dergview never really seemed to get going in this game and while Loughgall had chances to extend their lead Dergview could only threaten from a corner. Eventually the win was secured nine minutes from time when following a corner Dale Montgomery fired home his first of the season.

Newry City 1 PSNI 2

PSNI continued their unbeaten start to the season at the expense of Newry. Newry thought they had taken the lead after 25 minutes when Mark McCabe converted a cross but the linesman had raised his flag and to add insult to injury for City from the resulting free kick Owen Moody latched onto the ball and lobbed the keeper to give PSNI the lead. Shortly after halftime Paul Carville played Mark Hughes in for the equaliser. At this point Newry were dominating possession but just couldn’t find a way through and inevitably it was PSNI who would score the winner after Joe McWilliams scored after a Chris Watts shot was blocked.

Portadown 2 Limavady United 1
Paul Owens celebrated his 100th game as Limavady manager on Saturday but it ended in defeat as Portadown finish week two the same place they finished week one, first place. Owens did set up Gerard Gillen for the opener after 14 minutes and held on until the 50th minute when Matthew Hazley equalised for the Ports. Not long after this Portadown scored the winner when Kevin Amuneke’s low shot squeezed past Paul Wells and in.