Newry Blow Title Race Even Wider Open

NIFL Championship

The plan this week was to roundup both Saturday’s and Easter Tuesday’s matches, hence we are a day later than our usual slot but another day of miserable weather across Northern Ireland seen whatever Championship fixtures were to be played yesterday wiped out. There’s still plenty of action to talk about from Saturday though as the title race heats up further.

Dergview 1 Knockbreda 1

Dergview had a chance to move at least level on points with Knockbreda on Saturday but as it happens they remain 3 points behind, though they do have a game in hand. Both sides had chances to take the lead in the first half with James Craughwell and Alan Buchanan both being called into action but it remained goal-less at the break. After a slow start to the second half for the visitors they brought on Ross Arthurs and the substitute made an almost instant impact when he headed home from 6 yards following a quickly taken throw in. Dergview were determined to get something out of the game and after piling on the pressure they got their reward with three minutes remaining thanks to a substitute of their own, a long ball forward was missed by Knockbreda defender and Alex Pomeroy took full advantage to send the ball home.

Institute 0 Newry City 1

The title race was blown wide open on Saturday thanks to Newry’s victory over Stute at Wilton Park, in doing so the visitors moved to only a point behind the table-toppers, though have played a game more. The first half was a hectic affair with Stute captain Michael McCrudden testing Steven Maguire in the Newry goal and his opposite number, Martin Gallagher, was called into action by Robert Mackin and James Walker. Stute went close again just after the hour mark but this time City had a combination of Maguire and the woodwork to thank when Mark Scoltock’s header from an Aaron Harkin free-kick was pushed onto the post by the City stopper. Not to be outdone at the other end Gallagher appeared to be beaten by a Walker chip ten minutes from time but the keeper recovered to tip the ball over. Newry eventually got the breakthrough late in the game when a cross from Walker drew Gallagher off his line and Mark McCabe beat Ryan Morrow to the ball to head home the winner.

Lurgan Celtic 2 PSNI 4

PSNI secured a big win at the bottom end of the table, already safe from the danger of automatic relegation they moved themselves 10 points clear of the relegation play-off spot. The win was a fairly convincing one for the Police as Dale Malone, son of manager Colin, headed them in front after 13 minutes when Celtic failed to clear a corner. Lukasz Adamczyk doubled their lead before half-time and Johnny McClurg further stretched their advantage after the break. With 15 minutes to go Celtic pulled a goal back through Michael Doran but Adamczyk helped himself to a second to ensure there would be no comeback, despite Aaron Rogers scoring again for Celtic.

Portadown 2 Ballyclare Comrades

Portadown have surged up the table to 3rd place in recent weeks and are now occupying one of the play-off spots, they have played more games than any other top-half side though. The first goal of the game came after 24 minutes when Adam Salley scored from the spot after Kyle Neil was fouled. Less than five minutes later it looked as though the Comrades had a chance to equalise when Neil handled on the line but Samuel McIlveen seen his effort saved by Chris McGaughey. All the action in this game came in the first half as Salley scored his and the Ports second goal with seven minutes of the half remaining to wrap up the win.

There;s another full programme in the Bluefin Sport Championship on Saturday with the fixture list looking like this:-

Ballyclare Comrades v Institute

Harland and Wolff Welders v Portadown

Knockbreda v Lurgan Celtic

Limavady United v Dergview

Newry City v Loughgall

PSNI v Larne