Welders Keep Promotion Chase Interesting With Win Over Stute

NIFL Championship

I’m back again this week to round up all the Championship action from the weekend past, this time with a full programme of fixtures and plenty of goals to discuss.

Ballyclare Comrades 0 Newry City 3

Newry announced last week that manager Darren Mullen had signed a new three year contract with the club and he celebrated in style on Friday night with a convincing win over promotion challengers Ballyclare. Keith Johnston put the Bordermen in the lead when he capitalised on a poor backpass and sent the ball over ‘keeper Alan Blayney. Ballyclare rarely threatened in the first half but Newry ‘keeper Steven Maguire was called into action to deny Matthew Parker but in the second half Newry made sure of the points thanks to goals from Declan Carville and Mark McCabe. Newry remain in 2nd place but are now four points clear of Ballyclare.

Portadown 2 Loughgall 1

Matthew Tipton got his first win as Portadown manager at the second time of asking at Shamrock Park on Friday against Loughgall. Chris Lavery, fresh after signing a new contract with the Ports during the week, opened the scoring after receiving the ball from Craig McMillan on the left hand side but Dale Montgomery scored a superb goal to level things up ten minutes after the break. Lavery was involved in the Ports winner ten minutes from time as Adam McCallum headed home his free-kick, the Ports remain in 5th but have now put some distance between themselves and their opponents.

PSNI 3 Limavady United 0

PSNI extended their unbeaten run in the league and have now put some distance between themselves and the danger area. The visitors were the first to have the ball in the net on Saturday but the goal was ruled out for offside and Dale Malone then opened the scoring for Colin Malone’s men just before the break. Jake McNeill doubled the PSNI’s lead just before the sixty minute mark directly from a free-kick before United’s Declan McKeever was shown red for an off the ball incident. United’s day went from bad to worse when Johnny Courtney added a third goal, leaving the Roesiders in 10th place and just two points ahead of Dergview.

Lurgan Celtic 1 Dergview 4

The bottom two met on Saturday and if Lurgan Cetic harboured any hopes of surviving relegation on Saturday this was a must win game for them but Dergview showed no mercy in their own quest to avoid the drop. Four goals in a fifteen minute spell put Dergview 4-0 up and out of sight by half-time with the goals coming from Aaron Atkinson, Gareth Falconer and an Andrew Sproule brace, Celtic’s consolation goal coming from Curtis Hallissey. The win puts Dergview nine points clear of the automatic drop zone, with seven games left to play but they still occupy the promotion/relegation play-off spot.

Knockbreda 3 Larne 3

After reaching the Irish Cup semi-finals during the week it was back to league action for Larne as they took on relegation threatened Knockbreda on Saturday at Breda Park. David McDaid opened the scoring from the penalty spot after he himself had been fouled. Brendan Bennett quickly equalised for Knockbreda but by half-time Martin Donnelly had restored Larne’s lead. Karl Hamill scored for Knockbreda midway through the second half but Caolan Loughran put the visitors ahead for the third time in the game with his first goal for the club. Having taking the lead three times in the game Larne manager Tiernan Lynch will likely be frustrated that his side were unable to hold onto it as Knockbreda scored their third equalising goal in the 89th minute through Lloyd Anderson to ensure they left with share of the spoils.

Institute 1 Harland and Wolff Welders 2

Institute lost for only the fifth time this season and in doing so allowed their two nearest challengers to gain ground on them in the chase for automatic promotion. A Welders own goal gave Stute the lead at half-time but Dan McMurray headed home from a corner to draw the two sides level. Luckas Gwiazda scored the Welders winner with a superb strike that helps keep the promotion chase interesting for the neutrals.

There is just three games in the Championship this week, with them all taking place on Friday due to the Northern Ireland v South Korea match on Saturday afternoon:

Limavady United v Larne

Loughgall v Harland and Wolff Welders

Portadown v Newry City