Dale Malone’s last minute penalty secured Loughgall a deserved draw in a thrilling game at Lakeview Park.
Despite an even first period Bangor were ahead at the break when Andy Long rifled home in the 44th minute. Colin Malone’s men began to take control throughout the second half as they searched for a leveller and came extremely close when substitute John Guy struck the crossbar twice in quick succession. It looked like they would be heading to a harsh defeat until Declan O’Hara upended Malone in the penalty area.
There were two changes in the hosts starting line-up, Mark Carson replaced Neil King at right back and Wesley Boyle was selected ahead of John Guy in attack.
It was Loughgall who created the first opportunity when, in the 13th minute, Jeff Brady hit a driven cross which Boyle couldn’t direct home at the front post. On 23 minutes Bangor had ‘keeper Andrew Dickie to thank for his excellent awareness when closing down Boyle after Dale Malone’s superbly threaded ball.
The visitors created a number of chances throughout the first period, in the 25th minute Ryan Murray came close when his 25 yard effort just sailed over the crossbar. Two minutes later Gareth McLaughlin’s deflected shot from inside the penalty area brought out the best in Loughgall goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan as he did brilliantly to tip the wingers effort over the crossbar.
McLaughlin provided real attacking impetus for Bangor down the left flank and he set-up Thomas Lambe to fire wide from fifteen yards when under pressure on 33 minutes.
The breakthrough came just one minute before the break when a ball across the edge of the penalty area was met by Andy Long’s well-driven shot that finished beyond ‘keeper Buchanan.
Loughgall rallied in the second half and Boyle went close on two separate occasions however he was thwarted by ‘keeper Dickie. With ten minutes remaining John Guy got on the end of Johnny Kernaghan’s delivery only to be denied by the crossbar, and from a corner 30 seconds after he again struck the woodwork – this time with a well-hit volley.
The Villagers grabbed the draw in dramatic fashion right at the death when Malone, who was fouled by the offender O’Hara, stepped up to blast the spot-kick home.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Carson, Rodgers, Stewart, Acheson, Emerson (Kernaghan 75m), Malone, Ferguson, Heasley (Pedlow 66m), Boyle (Guy 75m), Brady. Unused subs: King, Flanaghan.
Bangor: Dickie, Beattie, Whitford, Youle, O’Hara, Scates (Armstrong 90m), McLaughlin, Lambe (Cahill 83m), Morrow, Murray, Long (Burns 75m). Unused subs: Carson, Fay.