Linfield and Coleraine continued their 100% winning starts to the season while Glentoran and Glenavon maintained their own unbeaten records after facing off on Friday evening. Meanwhile, Ards’ struggles continue as they are one of three sides yet to taste victory this season but the only one without a single point to their name after 4 matches.
Ards 0-1 Dungannon Swifts
The Swifts travelled to County Down to take on Ards in what was a battle between the two basement clubs. The halfway mark came and went with the sides deadlocked in a scoreless draw with Guillaume Keke missing a one-on-one chance against Stuart Addis early on for the home side. It wasn’t until the 75th minute that the game swung in the Swifts favour as Ards’ David Elebert earned himself a second yellow card bringing the home side down to 10 men. Dungannon took immediate advantage when taking the subsequent freekick, Dougie Wilson’s shot took a deflection past Aaron Hogg in the Ards’ goal.
Carrick Rangers 2-0 Ballinamallard United
Carrick claimed their first victory of the season thanks to an Andrew Mooney double either side of half time. Mooney’s first came on 37 minutes when Mallards’ Aaron Canning passed the ball straight into his path, the Rangers man noticed goalkeeper Richard Brush off his line and struck superbly from distance, beating the keeper from all of 25 yards. Mooney’s second on 65 minutes was another superb finish, after making his way down the left wing, Mooney cut inside and finished neatly past the on rushing Brush. The Mallards had a chance late on from the penalty spot but Ryan Curran was denied his fifth goal of the season by an excellent stop from Carrick Rangers goalkeeper Harry Doherty – a player who has rightly been drawing the plaudits so far this season.
Glenavon 2-2 Glentoran
Glenavon came into this one with 3 wins from 3 and 15 goals scored in that time. Glentoran were chugging along reasonably themselves, a poor second half performance against Carrick last week perhaps their only err so far. When Andrew Mitchell’s superb finish from 25 yards fizzed into the bottom corner past Elliott Morris on 24 minutes the Glenavon fans may have been forgiven for assuming another comprehensive victory was coming their way. The game remained 1-0 until 81 minutes when Glentoran substitute, and new boy, Robbie McDaid levelled the scores against his old club after some determined work from Curtis Allen. Glentoran found a second four minutes later when McDaid got himself on the end of a direct ball from deep to sidefoot into the far corner. The away side must have thought the points were in the bag but there was more action to come on 87 minutes when Josh Daniels managed to poke amidst a goalmouth scramble to share the spoils for the match.
Coleraine 2-1 Warrenpoint Town
Coleraine made it four wins out of four as they secured a professional victory over visitors Warrenpoint. The Bannsiders took the lead on 16 minutes when Eoin Bradley’s cross from the right was met by Jamie McGonigle slid in ahead of ‘Point goalkeeper Jonathan Parr to push the ball over the goal line. Warrenpoint found an equaliser on the cusp of half time when Darren Murray’s superbly taken volley beat Chris Johns in the Coleraine net. Darren Murray’s joy wasn’t to last as he picked up a second yellow card five minutes into the second half for a foul on Brad Lyons, Murray will perhaps have been left rueing the needless booking picked up in the first half for dissent. Coleraine capitalised on the man advantage on 69 minutes when Ian Parkhill’s teasing cross from the left edge of the box was put into the net by Darren McCauley.
Linfield 1-0 Ballymena United
Linfield continued their own 100% winning record in the first of two Saturday games as they entertained former manager David Jeffrey’s new side at Windsor Park. After a scoreless first half the Blues had to rely on a penalty to give them the victory over the Braidmen. Paul Smyth played Andrew Mitchell into the box but the midfielder was felled on his way through. Mitchell got himself up to take the kick and made no mistake in slotting the ball home. It has now been announced that Linfield have reached agreement with QPR over the transfer of Paul Smyth – a fantastic opportunity for the extremely talented player!
Cliftonville 1-2 Crusaders
The first North Belfast derby of the season ended with the Hatchetmen taking home the bragging rights. The Crues took a two goal lead in the opening ten minutes, Jordan Owens taking advantage of some poor Cliftonville defending from a long throw in to volley home from close range for the opener. Crusaders had their second when a Paul Heatley corner evaded the arms of Brett Long and Colin Coates was standing in wait to knock the ball into the net off his thigh. Both sides were reduced to ten men in the second half with Coates shown a second yellow for a poorly timed challenge from behind before Levi Ives was shown a straight red after a ludicrously dangerous tackle over the top of the ball on Declan Caddell. The Reds found a consolation goal late on when Jay Donnelly fired home from Chris Curran’s cross but it was too little, too late for the home side.