Loughgall’s run of poor form continued with a loss to Lurgan Celtic, and with other results going against them the Villagers moved into the relegation zone for the first time this season.
Loughgall were left to rue Chris Elliott’s early second half dismissal as the game-changer when he was shown his second yellow card for leading with his elbow during an aerial challenge. This and the opening yellow card for a harsh deliberate handball left Loughgall’s management team of Steven Hawe and Stephen Uprichard incensed at the referee.
There was very little between the sides before the 52nd minute dismissal; Lurgan Celtic were denied by a magnificent double save from Loughgall goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan to save from Rian Devlin and Josh Barton.
Loughgall threatened on 35 minutes when Marcus Dallas’ floated ball was volleyed by Warner Mullen towards goal from close range however Celtic ‘keeper McCorry was well positioned to save.
Lurgan Celtic stepped up the pressure with their man advantage and they made the breakthrough on 66 minutes from the penalty spot when Stuart Mallen tripped James Wright inside the penalty area. Central defender Stephen Hutchinson stepped up and sent ‘keeper Buchanan the wrong way.
The Hoops missed a fantastic chance to double their lead on 74 minutes when Aaron Rogers blazed over from close range.
Loughgall pushed for an equaliser and came closest through substitute Aaron Patterson when he fired a low shot that was well held by ‘keeper McCrory.
The hosts had to wait until the 88th minute to seal the win when Declan McVeigh’s free-kick was met by Dale Malone at the back post. The attacking midfielder saw his header loop over Buchanan and into the net.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Taylor, Canning, Copeland (Patterson 75m), Devlin, Mallen (Campbell 70m), Dallas, Ferguson, Elliott, Mullen, Uprichard (McConnell 60m). Unused subs: Upritchard, McCann.
Lurgan Celtic: McCorry, McAnallen, Hutchinson, Cochrane, Rogers; Barton, Gibson, Malone, McVeigh, Wright; R.Devlin