Ports Draw in Tipton’s First Match

NIFL Championship

There was to be a full programme of Bluefin Sport Championship football on Saturday but Newry’s home game against the Harland and Wolff Welders was called off on Saturday morning due to the weather. The other four games scheduled for Saturday went ahead though, following on from Friday night’s match, and as always there was no shortage of talking points.

Portadown 1 Institute 1 (Friday)

Matthew Tipton’s reign as Portadown manager began on Friday night with a home game against league leaders Institute. The opening stages of the game produced little to separate the two sides but with just less than twenty minutes on the clock Michael McCrudden beat two Ports defenders before firing Stute into the lead. The goal seemed to bring Tipton’s side to life and Jamie Douglas went close from a corner and Chris Lavery also seen a shot cleared off the line, the Ports also had a penalty appeal waved away after Adam Salley went down in the box but the score remained 1-0 to the visitors at the break. After the break the Ports went close again when Salley forced keeper Martin Gallagher into a save but the Ports did eventually get their equaliser when Salley crossed low into the box and Lavery was on hand to finish past Gallagher, earning his team a share of the spoils.

Ballyclare Comrades 2 Loughgall 1

Clifford Adams marks a year in charge at the Comrades this week and celebrated in the best possible way with a win to fire his men back into 3rd place in the table. The first half of this game was a rather tame affair but the first goal was scored seven minutes before the break when Comrades striker Gary Brown’s shot looked to be heading wide but the ball deflected off defender Mark Stewart and past Craig Robinson in goal. Loughgall equalised straight from kick off when a punt upfield from Stewart was helped by the wind and a heavy bounce took the ball over Comrades stopper Alan Blayney and found its way in for a bizarre goal. Into the second half and Loughgall had a good chance to take the lead but Gary Liggett couldn’t find the target with his header and soon after the visitors would regret that miss when Mark Kelly put the home side back in front. The Comrades looked comfortable for the rest of the game and if anything they looked more likely to extend their lead rather than lose it for a second time.

Larne 2 Lurgan Celtic 0

Larne made it fourteen unbeaten in all competitions as they warmed up for last night’s Irish Cup quarter-final against Ballymena United (we’ll look back on that match later in the week) with a win over basement side Lurgan Celtic. Both sides had chances to score in the first half but in truth it was a scrappy affair with David McDaid going closest for the home side when he fired against the crossbar right before the break. On 54 minutes you could say the game to that point was summed up when a Martin Donnelly shot got stuck in the muddy pitch and a Celtic defender was on hand to clear the danger from off the goal-line. Donnelly didn’t let that stop him though and seven minutes later he had scored twice to put his side 2-0 up. Celtic almost pulled a goal back when Kevin McAlinden seen an effort from 17 yards well saved by Conor Devlin and Andrew McAlinden’s follow up was cleared off the line but any hopes of Celtic getting anything from this game ended when Jordan Gibson was sent off with nine minutes to go for a second yellow card offence.

Limavady United 2 Knockbreda 2

Both sides missed an opportunity to move three points clear of each other with a draw on Saturday but did move themselves a point further clear of the danger area. United struck first in the game through the prolific Robbie Hume after 14 minutes. Knockbreda equalised before half-time but player-manager Paul Owens put the Roesiders back in front just after the hour mark. Knockbreda equalised for the second time in the game after 72 minutes through Ryan Newberry to earn a share of the spoils.

PSNI 3 Dergview 2

PSNI have also edged closer away from danger and left Dergview fighting for their lives in 11th place, PSNI took the lead in the 1st minute through Lukasz Adamcyzk but they couldn’t extend this any further in the first half and after the first ten minutes of the second half the game had turned on its head with two Dergview goals putting them in front. Owen Moody brought the PSNI level after 72 minutes and a late Ashton McDermott strike seen them snatch all three points in a dramatic finish.

This weekend sees another full programme of fixtures with the following games taking place:-

Portadown v Loughgall (Friday)

Ballyclare v Newry (Friday)

PSNI v Limavady

Institute v Harland and Wolff Welders

Knockbreda v Larne

Lurgan Celtic v Dergview