Loughgall fell to their second shock defeat in as many weeks when they lost at home to Championship newcomers Warrenpoint Town, who finished the game with ten men after Johnny Cowan was dismissed on 65 minutes.
Boss Colin Malone made a solitary change from last week with Mark Stewart replacing Chris Hull in central defence.
Warrenpoint Town were excellent throughout the first period as the hosts struggled to deal with both their pace and width.
Before their opener Keith Johnston trickled a shot wide from close range and goalkeeper Marc Robinson had to be alert to deny John McAlesson’s powerful header following a long straight free-kick.
On 26 minutes a wonderful diagonal ball to right-winger Ronan Kinney, who was being played onside, was taken in his stride before unleashing a great strike that came back off the post. The ball was controlled by McAlesson who whipped in a dangerous cross that referee Lee Tavinder adjudged was handled by Jeff Brady inside his own area, allowing Kinney the opportunity to fire in the spot-kick.
Town’s second goal, in the 38th minute, was cruel on Loughgall defender Mark Stewart as his attempted block from Kinney’s well-driven shot meant the ball cannoned past the diving Marc Robinson in the home goals. Sandwiched between the goals the Villagers managed to have the ball in Warrenpoints net however it was ruled out for offside when Marty Verner passed for Adam Pedlow to slot home.
After a dismal first half display Loughgall stepped up their game after the interval and did everything but find a way past the inspired Town ‘keeper Johnathan Parr. Their best opportunity came moments into the second half when they won a penalty; however Parr denied striker Verner from 12 yards and Stephen Doyle’s follow-up shot crashed against the post.
Now facing ten men, Loughgall had the vast majority of possession but were lacking the cutting edge in the final third – something they haven’t suffered from all season as they’d scored in all of their nine league games. Jeff Brady forced Parr into two great diving saves following Cowan’s red card, whilst Town still posed a threat when McAlesson headed against the crossbar after good build-up play by Gregory Curtis on 73 minutes.
When Loughgall managed to finally find a way past ‘keeper Parr they were undone by excellent positioning of substitute David O’Connor who cleared Greg Hall’s low shot off the goalline with 13 minutes remaining.
Loughgall: Robinson, Hall, Brady, King, Stewart (Blevins 71m), Doyle (Hull 88m), Hawthorne, Ferguson, Malone, Verner, Pedlow (Teggart 71m). Unused subs: Flanaghan, Herron.
Warrenpoint Town: J Parr, Trainer, Crilly, Boyle, Cowan, Curtis, Kinney, Smith, S Parr, Johnston, McAlesson. Subs: Carragher, McMullen, Fegan, McParland, O’Connor.
Referee: Lee Tavinder