Three second-half goals from John Uprichard, Mark McConnell and Stefan McMaster earned Loughgall a comfortable victory over H&W Welders at Lakeview Park.
The win, which moves the Villagers further away from the relegation playoff zone, was Loughgall’s fifth in the last six league games since Dean Smith took charge in early November.
Marcus Dallas threatened on 7 minutes when his 25 yard shot narrowly flew over Welders’ ‘keeper Stephen McConnell’s goal. And Loughgall should have taken the lead in the 11th minute however John Uprichard and Peter Campbell were denied from close range following Mark McConnell’s initial deflected shot.
The East Belfast side’s best chance arrived on 33 minutes when Ethan Boylan drifted in from the left flank before firing a 20 yard shot over the crossbar amid little pressure.
Loughgall made the perfect start to the second period when, seconds after the break, visitors ‘keeper McConnell parried Jack Upritchard’s low shot into the path of John Uprichard who made no mistake from 8 yards.
The Welders went close to scoring an equaliser twice, in the following 15 minutes, through Dan McMurray. Firstly, the defender rose highest to head Craig Harris’ free-kick narrowly over the crossbar. And then he hit an audacious 35 yard shot that Loughgall ‘keeper Gareth Buchanan did well to get low to the corner and push the ball past the post.
Loughgall doubled their advantage on 69 minutes when great build-up play saw Jack Upritchard set-up Andy Devlin, on an overlapping run, who pulled the ball back from the byline for Mark McConnell to fire home.
The Villagers netted their third deep into injury time when John Uprichard broke down the left wing before squaring for substitute Stefan McMaster to accurately place his shot past ‘keeper McConnell.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Devlin, Taylor, Copeland, Mallen, Dallas (Canning 45m), Ferguson Jack Upritchard (McMaster 82m), Campbell, McConnell, John Uprichard. Unused subs: Stretton, Elliott, McInerney.
H&W Welders: McConnell, Dickson, Armstrong, McKee (McLellan 62m), McMurray, McMillan, Middleton (Deans 70m), Davidson, Harris, Boylan, Rainey. Unused subs: Devine, Whittle, Shields.