NIFL Premiership Round Up: Coleraine stick at the top of the pile while Ballinamallard are still without a win

NIFL Premiership

There were 17 goals scored in a full spread of Danske Bank Premiership fixtures over the weekend as Coleraine managed to keep their spot at the top of the table. Meanwhile, it’s grim reading for Ballinamallard who are yet to taste victory in their own campaign so far!

Warrenpoint Town 1-4 Linfield (Friday Evening)

By the time Linfield took the lead on 35 minutes they had already seen a Jamie Mulgrew goal chalked off for offside against Mark Haughey. The opener was a well taken Aaron Burns volley at the back post. Point had an equaliser just five minutes later when Martin Murray cut inside from the left wing and curled a superb shot beyond a helpless Roy Carroll. Linfield regained their lead in the second half through a Louis Rooney penalty before the former Plymouth striker extended their lead after a disastrous error from ex-Linfield stopper Alan Blayney. In the final minutes Mark Stafford finished the scoring with an effort from close range via a deflected Niall Quinn cross.

Ballinamallard United 1-3 Ballymena United

Ballinamallard’s poor start to the season continued as the Sky Blues came to Ferney Park and left with all 3 points. It took Ballymena only 15 minutes to start the scoring as Leroy Millar struck from 20 yards after the ball dropped to him from a corner. Five minutes later Ballymena doubled their lead, Tony Kane won and dispatched a coolly taken penalty to make it 2-0. In the 55th minute the game was effectively ended as a contest when Cathair Friel rose high to nod in a Leroy Millar free kick. The Mallards did manage to grab a consolation goal on 66 minutes when Josh McIlwaine directed a header into the far bottom corner of the net but they couldn’t get themselves back into the match.

Carrick Rangers 1-2 Cliftonville

Cliftonville completed a second half comeback over Carrick to get themselves back to winning ways thanks to Joe Gormley. At a wet and Windy Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena it was courtesy of a 3rd minute Eamon McAllister corner that Rangers took the lead, his set piece glanced off the head of Cliftonville’s Aaron Donnelly and into the Reds’ net. The wind played havoc with aerial passes and shots and both sides had their chances to double the match’s tally in the first half but it remained 1-0 to Carrick at the break. On 66 minutes Cliftonville had their equaliser, a quick break led Joe Gormley to weave his way through the Carrick defence and slot his shot into the bottom corner. The Reds were presented with a chance for the winner just minutes from time through a somewhat soft penalty, Gormley stepped up and made no mistake firing Cliftonville to a 2-1 victory.

Crusaders 1-1 Dungannon Swifts

For the second week in a row Crusaders were held to a draw at home. Crusaders dominated the chances in the first half but couldn’t find a breakthrough as the teams went into the half level. It wasn’t until the 71st minute that Crusaders found their opener, a long range clearance from Sean Ward found the run of Jordan Owens in the box. The big front man got to the ball ahead of Stuart Addis then finished the opportunity off for 1-0. The lead lasted only two minutes as Chris Hegarty turned in a Paul McElroy corner. It was a result that sees Crusaders drop to fourth in the table, five points adrift of league leaders Coleraine.

Glenavon 3-0 Ards

The league’s highest scorers, Glenavon, bagged another 3 for their tally as they hosted Ards at Mourneview Park. Glenavon had the lead after 12 minutes thanks to an incisive breakaway that was finished off by Mark Sykes. Glenavon had their second 6 minutes later when a long throw came off the head of Johnny Taylor and into his own net! Ards had the ball in the back of the net in the early stages of the second half but after discussions with his assistant, the referee pulled it back for an offside. Moments later Mark Sykes finished the scoring for the day as he broke through from midfield to slot home his second and Glenavon’s third.

Glentoran 0-0 Coleraine

Coleraine were down to 10 men after just twenty minutes as Josh Carson was given a straight red for a late challenge on Marcus Kane. The game was strewn with missed chances from Ian Parkhill, Darren McCauley and Robbie McDaid amongst others. Glentoran had Elliott Morris to thank for keeping them in this game as the veteran stopper made save after save, Nathan Kerr also making a goal line clearance into the second half to keep it scoreless. In the dying minutes Glentoran were presented with a golden chance to steal 3 points when Curtis Allen was bundled over in the area. John McGuigan stepped up but slipped at the crucial moment sending the ball high over the bar. The point meant Coleraine retained their place atop the pile after this weekend of football.

About the Author

Matt McKay
Glentoran and Northern Ireland fan.