It was a big day of action in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (PIL) last Saturday, as we had a full programme and a clash between the division’s top two sides.
Annagh United 1 Banbridge Town 1
Annagh managed to stop a run of six straight defeats on Saturday with this point against Banbridge but results elsewhere meant they slipped further adrift and are now 4 points from safety, though they do have two games in hand over Newington who are directly above them. It was the home side who took the lead in the game but Town soon had an opportunity to get back into the game when they were awarded a penalty, Neil Clydesdale couldn’t keep his effort on target though and it came back off the crossbar. The visitors did go into the break of level terms though when Conor Downey struck with a shot into the bottom corner from outside the area. There were no further goals in the second half but Annagh were reduced to ten men when John Convery was giving his marching orders for a second yellow card.
Armagh City 1 Newington Youth Club 2
Armagh came into this game on the back of a good run of form in the league; in contrast Newington hadn’t won in the league since the 16th September so there were no prizes for guessing who the pre-match favourites were. City struggled to get going in the game though and they found themselves 2-0 down at half-time, Newington’s goals coming from Brendan O’Neill and Gerard Dempsey. The second half continued in a much similar fashion with City struggling to make any real impact on the game, but substitute Reese McInerney did managed to pull a goal back from the spot after he had been pushed inside the area but the home side were unable to find any further goals. The victory will have been a welcome one for Newington as a defeat along with Annagh’s draw with Banbridge could have seen the two sides separated only by goal difference. As it stands though Newington are four points clear of bottom spot, Annagh do have two games in hand but with only the bottom side going down Newington may be content with having their points on the board.
Donegal Celtic 3 Moyola Park 2
DC manager Stephen Hatfield has been busy during the transfer window, with no less than nine new signings arriving at Suffolk Road. Hatfield will have been hoping his new signings will spark new life into his side that were sitting 10th going into Saturday’s game but after 25 minutes DC found themselves 2-0 down due to a TIernan Raffery penalty and a goal from Tomas McCann. DC did manage to pull a goal back after 30 minutes through one of the aforementioned new signings, Conor Glenholmes and not long after that they were level thanks to a Ciaran Murray goal. By the time the half-time interval came around the game had been completely turned on its head as DC found the net again through Robbie McVarnock. Moyola were no doubt shell shocked by this but came out in the second half pushing for an equaliser but just couldn’t find a way through and it was DC who were celebrating at the end having moved up a place to 9th in the table.
Lisburn Distillery 1 Tobermore United 1
Distillery had lost two league games in a row and were coming into this one off the back of a heavy 7-0 defeat the previous week in the Irish Cup, the Whites also lost 3-0 in the away game against Tobermore earlier in the season and will have been keen to avenge that defeat. The first half produced few clear cut chances for either side but it was Distillery who struck first after 31 minutes when Timmy Clarke was brought down inside the area by United keeper Andrew Finlay and Alan McMurtry dispatched the resulting penalty, for any statto’s out there McMurtry has now scored 15 from 16 penalties taken in a Distillery shirt. Shortly after this the visitors were reduced to ten men when Dean Brown was shown a straight red card following an off the ball incident with Distillery’s Barry Moore. Moving into the second half and within the first ten minutes Matthew Ferguson had two good chances to extend Distillery’s lead but the clubs top scorer couldn’t find the target and after 59 minutes it was Tobermore who scored when Jonah Nicholl could do nothing about Aidan McCauley’s free-kick. The Whites had further chances to get a winner through Ferguson again and right at the death Nick Beta but it was to be a share of the spoils. The result does little for either side as Tobermore dropped two places to 8th, the Whites remain 3rd.
Portstewart 1 Sport and Leisure Swifts 2
Sport and Leisure made the long trip to the north-west coast on Saturday and the result was never really in doubt and the Swifts controlled much of the game and move back into the top six. The Swifts had plenty of chances in the first half to take the lead in the first half but were unable to break the deadlock and found themselves going in on level terms at half-time. In the second half they did finally break the deadlock and went 2-0 up thanks to Kevin Lynch and Stephen O’Neill. The Seahawks did pull a goal back but despite having to play the last 30 minutes with ten men, due to Niall McCauley’s red card, the visitors held on for the win.
Queens University 2 Dundela 4
First played second at The Dub on Saturday and by the end of the game we had a new leader at the top of the PIL as it was the Duns who came out on top. Queens took a 2-0 lead into the half-time break but goals from Jordan Hughes and David McMaster brought the sides level and it was all to play for. Carl McComb scored what would prove to be the decisive goal of the game but there was still time for Hughes to grab his second and seal the deal.
Due to the stop-start nature of the PIL there is only one game this Saturday, Donegal Celtic take on Annagh United at Suffolk Road, due to the Intermediate Cup.