Loughgall suffered a terrible afternoon at Darragh Park as they were beaten 2-0 at the hands of Dergview while also having Peter Campbell suffer a broken ankle. Added to this the Villagers finished with nine men as Steven Ferguson and Andrew Hoey were both dismissed late on.
Goals either side of half-time by Ivan Sproule and Nathan Cashel helped the Castlederg outfit close the gap on second-placed Ballyclare Comrades, 3-0 losers to the PSNI, to five points with eight games remaining.
The hosts survived an early scare when visiting striker Jordan Baker failed to get a clean connection on a teasing left-sided cross from Marc McConnell.
On 10 minutes Dergview’s forwards Ryan Campbell and Ivan Sproule combined to create an opportunity for Aaron Arkinson but the midfielder was unable to apply the required finish.
Five minutes before the interval Dergview got their noses in front when Campbell and Sproule combined to carve apart the visiting defence and the latter scampered through to round Buchanan and steer the ball into the gaping net.
Dergview missed a great opportunity to double their lead when, on 57 minutes, Campbell, who won the penalty, saw his spot-kick saved by goalkeeper Buchanan.
Moments later though the home side did double their advantage when a rasping effort by Cashel found the net, despite Buchanan getting a hand on the Kesh man’s shot.
Things then went from bad to worse for the visitors when Peter Campbell was stretchered off with a broken ankle, while captain Ferguson was red carded.
Dergview continued to press but ultimately Clarke’s charges couldn’t add to their tally, despite the fact Loughgall substitute Hoey dismissed for two cautions right at the death.
Loughgall: Buchanan, McDonald, Elliott, Taylor, Rea, Jack Upritchard (Hoey 67m), Ferguson, McMaster, McConnell, John Uprichard (Campbell 65m) (Stretton 84m), Baker.