Loughgall ended a run of four league losses with an impressive point at home to Belfast Telegraph Championship One title challengers Ards. And the result was almost even better for the hosts as Ards levelled in the dying minutes to share the spoils.
Gareth Buchanan, returning from a three-game suspension, was called into action on 18 minutes. Firstly he pushed Stephen Cockcroft’s free-kick past the post and, from the resultant corner, he denied James Cully’s close range header.
Loughgall debutant Matthew McMahon should have done better in the 20th minute when he broke from the centre of the pitch; his driving run resulted in a shooting opportunity however the midfielder dragged his effort wide of the target.
Ards opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Willie Faulkner’s chipped cross-cum-shot rebounded off the far post before Ross Arthurs fired home from close range.
The hosts started the second period excellently and began to threaten Aaron Shannaghan’s goal. Loughgall levelled on 56 minutes when Aaron Patterson’s superb free-kick, from a difficult angle, flashed into the top corner for his first goal for Loughgall.
And the Villagers took the lead in the 65th minute when ex-Ards midfielder Ryan Moffatt curled home from the edge of the penalty area past the diving Shannaghan.
The visitors began to pile on the pressure as they searched for an equaliser; Arthurs and Faulkner missed great opportunities before the former grabbed his second of the game in the 89th minute. Cockcroft’s dangerous long-throw into the 6-yard box fell nicely for striker Arthurs to slot home from close range.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Carson, Moffatt, Copeland, Stewart, Taylor, Ferguson, McMahon, Boyle (Carlin 80m), Patterson, Mullen. Unused subs: Henderson, Brady, Reynolds, Black.
Ards: Shannaghan, Hall, Convery, Gage, Cockcroft, Arthurs, Cully (Shannon 74m), Faulkner, Dolan (Curtis 61m), Clarke, Warwick. Unused subs: Hillard, Barnett.