Glebe Rangers 3 – 5 Loughgall

Loughgall recorded their third consecutive league win to close the gap on leaders Newry City to just two points and retain their second place position in the IFA Championship table.

It was another high-scoring game that puts the Villagers at the top of the league goalscorers charts with 19 goals in only 7 games.

Manager Colin Malone kept faith with the same starting line-up that put four past Tobermore United – who credibly were the first side to take points off Newry City with a scoreless draw this weekend – however he was boosted by the return of Stephen Ferguson.

Loughgall made a sluggish start to the game with Rangers using their pace in attack to really put the visitors on the backfoot. During the first half an hour the hosts whipped a number of dangerous crosses from both flanks however they were unable to convert. And it proved very costly as Neil King headed Marty Verner’s excellent free-kick delivery past ‘keeper Matt McGraw from close range to give Loughgall an undeserved lead.

Glebe managed to level shortly after, when Tommy Elder’s cross was met by Peter Kennoway at the back post who had the simple task of heading home, giving boss Gary Scott something to show for a good first half performance.

Loughgall started the second period excellently as, straight from kick-off, a smart passing interchange between Verner and Dale Malone culminated in the former lobbing ‘keeper McGraw only to see his effort rebound off the crossbar. Nonetheless the Villagers regained their lead two minutes later when Malone’s corner was diverted home by Neil King for his second goal of the game. And the early pressure saw Loughgall further extend their advantage when Verner slotted home a penalty after Nigel Turner needlessly upended Paul Keenan inside the penalty area as he was heading away from goal.

The home side pulled a goal back on the hour mark when substitute Lee Forgrave played a long pass that Trevor Parkhill raced onto before exquisitely lobbing goalkeeper Marc Robinson. However four minutes later Loughgall restored their two-goal advantage when Verner was played in by Davy Hawthorne’s incisive pass and the forward confidently finished from 20 yards. And Verner almost netted a second half hat-trick only to be denied by a superb point-blank save by ‘keeper McGraw on 70 minutes.

Stephen Doyle made sure of the victory with 13 minutes remaining when he collected Hawthorne’s pass, showed good strength to shrug off left-back Jackie Morrison, before accurately firing inside the post with a low shot.

Glebe managed to net a late consolation goal when Parkhill rifled in a tremendous drive into the top corner of the net in injury time.

Loughgall: Robinson, Hall, Brady, King, Hull, Malone, Hawthorne (Stewart 82m), Teggart (Ferguson 67m), Doyle, Keenan (Pedlow 70m), Verner.

Glebe Rangers: McGraw, McCart (Forgrave 49m), Morrison, Sheppard, Rice, Marks, Elder, Kennoway, Parkhill, Turner (Moody 61m), Anderson (McAllister 75m).

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