Loughgall 2 – 1 Ballyclare Comrades

Loughgall bounced back from three successive defeats to inflict a damaging loss for league leaders Ballyclare Comrades. The result reduces their lead to just one point over Knockbreda and Institute at the top of the Bluefin Sport Championship table.

The Villagers opened the scoring after ten minutes when Andrew Hoey hit a wonderful shot from 25 yards that dipped and swerved past Comrades ‘keeper Paddy Flood and nestled in the top corner.

The visitors threatened when Chris Rodgers headed on target from a corner delivery and drew a good save from Loughgall ‘keeper Gareth Buchanan.

The hosts doubled their lead in the 20th minute when Craig Taylor whipped in a low cross from the right side of the penalty area and it was diverted in by the unfortunate Chris Rodgers who was under pressure from Jamie Douglas.

Paddy Flood produced an excellent save to keep Ballyclare in the game on 27 minutes when he made a point-blank stop to deny Peter Campbell’s effort from 15 yards.

Just before the break Thomas Robinson’s deep cross was met by Samuel McIlveen at the back post however the midfielder was off balance when he shot from a good position and the ball sailed harmlessly wide.

The second period was largely played in Loughgall’s half as the league leaders attempted to rescue a result however they struggled to carve out clear-cut opportunities.

Ballyclare grabbed a goal back in the 68th minute when Dean Youle’s cross from the right flank found Stewart Nixon on the left-hand edge of the penalty area unmarked. Nixon forced a fantastic save from ‘keeper Buchanan however the forward was alert to follow in and convert from close range.

Loughgall: Buchanan, Montgomery, Rea, Copeland, Finlay, Dallas, Ferguson, Taylor (McConnell 85m), P Campbell, Douglas (Stewart 90m), Hoey (Mullen 74m). Unused subs: Crooks, Stretton.

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Robinson (Maguire 67m), Parker, Youle, McCart, Dobbin (O’Hanlon 84m), Rodgers, Brown, McIlveen, Kelly, Nixon. Unused subs: Johnston, Woods, McKinty.