Loughgall secured their place in the Championship One top 6 following an exciting conclusion to today’s round of fixtures. Both Lurgan Celtic and Larne lost which allowed Loughgall, who enjoyed a 3-0 victory, to leapfrog both of them to finish in 6th place.
Since Dean Smith became manager in mid-November the Villagers have recorded an amazing 7 wins from 9 league games which saw them rise from 2nd bottom to 6th position.
Loughgall broke the deadlock three minutes into the second period when Peter Campbell’s cross was controlled by Ricky Copeland inside the area and Ruari McDonald pounced to smash home from close range for his first goal since joining in January.
The game turned on a penalty decision given in the 65th minute when Marc McConnell tripped Ashton McDermott inside the penalty area. Ex-Loughgall forward Paul McDowell, introduced as a substitute, saw his spot-kick come off the post before missing a point-blank header moments after.
The Villagers buoyed by the penalty miss doubled their advantage two minutes later when Campbell’s free-kick was squared across goal by Jordan Baker for Andrew Hoey to convert.
And Loughgall made sure of the win in the 73rd minute when McConnell’s corner delivery was missed by everyone in the PSNI goalmouth and crept in past goalkeeper David Harrison.
Loughgall were reduced to ten men nine minutes from time when Copeland was shown a straight red card from referee Jenkins following an altercation with ‘keeper Harrison.
Loughgall: Buchanan, McDonald, Taylor, Copeland, Rea, Dallas (McMaster 79m), Ferguson, McConnell (Jack Upritchard 74m), Baker, Hoey (John Uprichard 74m), Campbell. Unused subs: Elliott, Stewart.
PSNI: Harrison, McCullagh, McCrory, McDermott, A Wright, J Wright (Courtney 72m), Riddle, Moody (McDowell 57m), Adamczyk (Roohi 57m), Berry, McWilliams. Unused sub: Kirk.