The top three teams in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (PIL) went into Saturday’s games level pegging and with two of those teams facing off against each other it was sure to be an interesting day in the division.
Annagh United 1 Armagh City 2
Armagh made it three wins in a row on Saturday to move into the top half of the table just in time for the New Year. City opened the scoring within the first five minutes when Ultan Lennon made it to goals in two league games by scoring from the penalty spot after his teammate Nedas Macuilaitis was brought down inside the area. Jake Keegan then scored his first goal of the season from long range to double the Eagles lead and left United with an uphill battle. To their credit Annagh came out in the second half and dominated much of the game but despite pulling a goal back they were unable to get an equaliser and they remain two points adrift at the foot of the table.
Banbridge Town 3 Portstewart 0
Banbridge moved up to 5th in the table on Saturday, leapfrogging Tobermore and Sport and Leisure and moving level on points with Moyola, thanks to this comfortable home win against Portstewart. The game was never really in doubt and Banbridge were all but out of sight by half-time, Neil Taggart scored the first goal when he converted the penalty awarded after Darren McGrath was brought down. Conor Downey doubled the lead from close range and the scoring was completed before half-time when Neil Clydesdale dispatched a free-kick from the edge of the box. Any hopes of a Portstewart comeback were well and truly diminished when they were reduced to ten men in the second half.
Dundela 4 Newington Youth Club 4
Dundela and Newington shared the spoils in this eight goal thriller at Wilgar Park on Saturday, the result sees Dundela remain in 2nd place in the table but they’ve fallen two points behind league leaders Queens. The Duns fell behind in the first half but equalised thanks to a goal from Mark McClelland and Jordan Hughes then turned the game on its head before half-time to put the home side 2-1 up. It was the away teams side to come from behind and equalise in the second half but they were soon behind again when Daniel Burns put the Duns ahead again only for Newington to peg them back once more. Jay Magee put Dundela 4-3 up and must have thought that would be the winner but incredibly the away side equalised for the fourth time in the match to ensure they shared the points.
Queens University 1 Lisburn Distillery 0
Like Dundela the Whites remain as they were in the league in 3rd place but they have now fallen three points behind league leaders Queens and a point behind the Duns in 2nd, it’s now also back to back league defeats for Distillery. In truth Distillery never got going in the game and Queens ran out the deserved winners in the end controlling the game from start to finish. Ronan Young went closest for Queens in the first half as his effort beat keeper Jonah Nicholl but defender Joe Reid was on hand to clear off the line. It was Young who scored the only goal of the game though after 67 minutes as he got on the end of Matthew Hughes’ pass and finished in off the post. The Whites never really troubled Declan Brown in the Queens goal and the closest the came to scoring was when Brown failed to claim a high ball in the box but the ball dropped safely behind for a goal kick in the end. When the final whistle blew it was the home side who were celebrating the New Year at the top of the table.
Despite the 5th round of the Irish Cup taking place there are still three PIL fixtures this coming Saturday and they are as follows:-
Banbridge v Newington
Tobermore v Sport and Leisure
Armagh v Donegal Celtic