The Championship: Week Four

NIFL Championship

Ballyclare Comrades 1 Newry City 1

The Comrades dropped points for the first time this season when they had to settle for a share of the spoils against Newry on Saturday but they do remain top of the league on goal difference, Newry will likely look at this as a positive result picked up on the road. The match was goalless at half-time and the Comrades must have thought they had done enough to keep their 100% record intact when centre back Chris Rodgers gave them the lead after 72 minutes, Newry had other ideas though and they equalised just a couple of minutes later through a goal from Mark McCabe.

Dergview 1 Harland & Wolff Welders 1

Both these sides have had indifferent starts to the season, the Welders have one win, a draw and two defeats after four games and Dergivew now sitting with two draws and two defeats. It was Richard Clarke’s Dergview who scored first when Simon McGlynn capitalised on a mistake from Welder’s keeper Jason Craughwell and the scoreline remained 1-0 at half-time. The Welders kept plugging away and eventually got their equaliser towards the end of the game when substitute McMullan fired them level. There was still time for Craughwell to make amends for his earlier error when he pulled off a great double save following a Dergview penalty.

Limavady United 1 Larne 0

It was another bad day at the office for Larne as their poor start to the season continued on Saturday at the Limavady Showgrounds. New signings Conor Downey and Darren Stuart went straight into Larne’s starting eleven on Saturday but it was Ralph Kottoy who went closest for the men from Inver Park, hitting the woodwork from a 25-yard free kick, four minutes later and Limavady had taken the lead thanks to a goal from Lee Harkin. Larne were unable to find a way back into the game and that Harkin strike proved to be the only goal of the game.

Loughgall 0 Knockbreda 1

Knockbreda made it two league wins in a row and are sitting in 4th place in the league, for Loughgall though it’s now two defeats in a row in the league and only three points picked up from a possible twelve. Knockbreda went close to taking the lead after 24 minutes when Michael Halliday got on the end of a Lewis Irwin cross but Conor Mullen was well placed to clear off the line. A few minutes later though and Halliday had given Breda the lead when he flicked a Ciaran Murray cross beyond the reach of Loughgall goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan. Loughgall started the second half on the front foot and Breda goalkeeper David Ferguson was called into action to deny Mullen, Andrew Hoey and Jamie Douglas but Breda held firm and made the trip back home with all three points.

Lurgan Celtic 3 PSNI 0

Lurgan Celtic remain unbeaten this season, now only side to not suffer defeat this season other than Ballyclare, thanks to this convincing home victory over PSNI. Striker Warner Mullan picked up right where he left off last week by opening the scoring just over the half hour mark. Lurgan Celtic doubled their lead just before half-time thanks to a screaming Ruaira McDonald strike. Mullen completed the scoring after 70 minutes when he showed great strength to finish past the PSNI keeper.

Portadown 1 Institute 2

Portadown will likely still be most people’s favourites to secure the Championship title and promotion but will certainly have realised, if they didn’t already know, that they won’t have things all their own way. The game remained goalless into the second half and Stute eventually took the lead when Niall Grace found the back of the net. It was the same player who doubled Stute’s lead just a minute later and the Ports knew they were up against it for the last half hour. Kevin Amuneke pulled one back for the Ports to ensure it would be a nervy finish to the game but Stute held on to secure the win.

Next weeks fixtures in The Championship are as follows (all matches are on Saturday unless otherwise stated):-
Newry City v Portadown (Friday)
Harland & Wolff Welders v Institute
Knockbreda v Limavady United
Larne v Ballyclare Comrades
Lurgan Celtic v Loughgall
PSNI v Dergview