Loughgall eased past fellow Bluefin Sport Championship side PSNI to book their place in the Tennent’s Irish Cup 6th Round where they will face a home tie against Ards.
Manager Dean Smith will be encouraged by his new strikeforce as new signings Gary Liggett and Nathaniel Ferris started although the former had to be withdrawn due to pulling up early in the second half.
PSNI took the lead against the run of play when Dale Malone was tripped by Josh Finlay as he ran into the penalty area. Ex-Loughgall striker Lukasz Adamczyk stepped up and sentr ‘keeper Gareth Buchanan the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.
Loughgall were well in control throughout the first-half however were struggling to apply a clinical finish to their changes. Gary Liggett went close on 30 minutes when he headed narrowly wide from Dale Montgomery’s cross.
But two goals in three minutes saw the hosts go in at the break ahead; the first came in the 40th minute when Montgomery’s pinpoint cross was nodded home by Peter Campbell at the back post. And new signing Nathaniel Ferris made an instant impact in tremendous fashion shortly after when he acrobatically finished Conor Mullen’s cross into the top corner.
PSNI’s captain Scott McCrory almost levelled in unlikely circumstances on the hour mark when a long clearance upfield from just inside his own half came back off the crossbar with ‘keeper Buchanan back-pedalling furiously.
The game was put beyond doubt two minutes later when Campbell’s cross from the left-hand side of the penalty area was touched on by substitute Marc McConnell and Mullen was on hand at the back post to sidefoot home from close range.
In the 82nd minute Campbell burst into the PSNI penalty area evading two challenges however he was denied by a smart save.
Campbell did net his second goal, with five minutes remaining, to cap a fine individual performance when he lobbed home over PSNI substitute goalkeeper Taylor Kirk from 25 yards.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Montgomery, Rea, Finlay, Copeland (Neill 73m), Dallas, Ferguson (Stewart 84m), Mullen, Campbell, Liggett (McConnell 54m), Ferris. Unused subs: Robinson, Stretton, Crooks.
PSNI: Williamson (Kirk 45m), McDermott, Campbell, Simpson, McCrory, McClurg, Malone (Courtney 34m), Berry, Adamczyk, McDowell (Martyn 70m), Anderson. Unused subs: Riddle, Douglas.