Duns Stretch Lead at Top Further, While Donegal Celtic Drop to Bottom

NIFL Premier Intermediate League

There were five games in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (PIL) on Saturday, one on Friday and one played on Tuesday night and I’ll be looking back on all of those games in this roundup.

Armagh City 2 Banbridge Town 2 (Friday)

Armagh and Banbridge shared the spoils at Holm Park on Friday night keeping them both very much as they were in the league. Stephen Teggart opened the scoring for the visitors with half an hour played with a free-kick from the edge of the area, before John Uprichard scored his first goal for City to bring the two sides level. City did have a golden opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot but Town keeper Gerard McErlean guessed right, there was little McErlean could do on 70 minutes when Nedas Macuilaitis did put Armagh in front. City ultimately wouldn’t hold onto their lead as Teggart got his name on the scoresheet for the second time of the night five minutes from time.

Queens University 1 Sport and Leisure Swifts 2 (Saturday)

One of the big surprises of the day was second placed Queens falling to defeat in their own backyard on Saturday when they went down to visiting Sport and Leisure Swifts. The Swifts opened the scoring after ten minutes when Gavin Johnston scored from the penalty spot after Kevin Lynch had been fouled. Queens dominated much of the first half and Ryan McCready struck the crossbar before a Darren Gallagher own goal levelled the game up again. Queens continued to boss the game after the break and hit the bar again, Ryan Young the unfortunate player this time, and David Elliot brought a good save from Swifts keeper Michael Magill. Queens were hit with a sucker-punch from the most unfortunate of circumstances when a Niall Cunningham free-kick comfortably inside his own half was picked up by the wind and carried into the goal.

Portstewart 2 Tobermore United 0 (Saturday)

It’s amazing what a couple of weeks can do in football, not long ago Portstewart were bottom of the table but they followed up their win the previous week against Donegal Celtic with another three points at home to Tobermore on Saturday to move into 9th place in the table and 6 points clear of the dreaded bottom spot. Both goals came in the last fifteen minutes of the game with Johnny Stewart helping himself to a brace. Tobermore remain in 7th but are ahead of Armagh and Portstewart by goal difference only now.

Lisburn Distillery 1 Newington Youth Club 2 (Saturday)

It’s November since Distillery last tasted victory in the league, albeit given the topsy-turvy fixture list in the PIL that does only amount to five games, but the Whites supporters will have been hopeful of victory on Saturday when Matthew Ferguson put them ahead against bottom side Newington after eleven minutes. After taking an early lead though the Whites failed to push on and Newington grew into the game, Richard Gowdy missed a glorious chance to equalise but made amends on the stroke of half-time when he scored from inside the area. Newington’s winning goal came just after the hour mark when Liam Bracken headed home a Chris McFall free-kick. Three points for Newington sees them off the bottom of the table into 11th place.

Dundela 4 Donegal Celtic 0 (Saturday)

Dundela took advantage of Queens dropping points to extend their lead at the top to four points on Saturday thanks to a convincing win against DC at Wilgar Park. Mark McClelland opened the scoring for the Duns in the first half and Owain Beggs doubled their lead just before the break. In the second half Jordan Hughes scored his 15th and 16th goals of the season to wrap up the win. DC, who dropped to bottom spot following this defeat, announced after the game that they had parted company with manager Stephen Hatfield, who has been replaced by former DC player and Lurgan Celtic manager Brendan Shannon.

Annagh United 1 Moyola Park 2 (Saturday)

Annagh’s three game winning streak came to an end on Saturday with defeat at home to Moyola Park on Saturday, who remain in 3rd place but extended their lead over Banbridge. Annagh were the first team to score in the game, taking the lead through Scott McCordick but Jason Paul equalised for Moyola late in the half. It didn’t take long for Moyola to score what would prove to be the winning goal, as Craig McAllister had the game turned on its head within two minutes of the restart.

Moyola Park 1 Dundela 1 (Tuesday)

Dundela went into this game knowing that they could potentially end the night 7 points clear of 2nd placed Queens, Moyola also had an opportunity to put some distance between themselves Banbridge. In the end neither side got the three points they were hoping for but will likely be happy with a point apiece. Dundela opened the scoring tin the first half through Daniel Burns but a second half Stephen McCain own goal brought the sides level. Moyola were given the upper hand with five minutes left when Jordan Morrison was shown a second yellow card but they could not make the most of their man advantage.

There are four games in the PIL this weekend, three on Friday and one on Saturday:-

Annagh United v Dundela (Friday)
Armagh City v Lisburn Distillery (Friday)
Newington Youth Club v Tobermore United (Friday)
Queens University v Moyola Park (Saturday)