Tobermore United v Dollingstown was the only game in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (PIL) to fall victim to the elements on Saturday, with the four other scheduled games going ahead as planned, the day ended with Portstewart remaining the only team in the PIL unbeaten.
I’ll be taking a look back at all the four games that took place on Saturday, where there were 15 goals scored and a slight change at the top of the table.
Annagh United 2-1 Bangor
Ciaran McGurgan’s Annagh side went into Saturday’s game with Bangor joint top of the table with Newington, having won four out of five games so far in the league this season. Annagh got to the promotion/relegation play-off last season but lost out to PSNI so they would be hoping to go one step further and return to the Championship for next season.
Bangor had a good start to their league campaign with back to back wins but were beaten by Portstewart in their previous league game against Portstewart.
Gerard McMullan went close to putting Bangor in front in the first 15 minutes but his effort on goal was well saved by Annagh ‘keeper Eoin Hughes but the Seasiders didn’t have to wait long for the first goal of the game when defender Issac Fletcher continued his recent goalscoring exploits to put the visitors ahead.
However, before the break, Annagh leveled the scoreline when the in-form striker Ruairi McDonald bagged his 12th goal of the season. Bangor keeper Jason Craughwell could do little to prevent McDonald from scoring.
There were few other chances of note for either side throughout the game but Jackson Holmes did score what proved to be the winner for Annagh in the 66th minute to move them three points clear in 1st place in their own right, Bangor remained in 5th place.
Limavady United 2-2 Banbridge Town
Both these sides went into this game in desperate need of points, Banbridge have normally been a strong side at the top end of this division but this season they found themselves going into this game rock bottom and with only one goal scored in their previous four games. It’s also been a tough start for Limavady United and new manager, Mark Clyde, following relegation last season; they went into the game with just the one win and three defeats to start the season.
Banbridge took an early lead when former Carrick and Glenavon striker, James Costello, put them ahead in the 6th minute from the penalty spot after Daniel Devlin had been fouled. The lead didn’t last for long though as Ryan Logue equalised for United in the 20th minute and the two sides went in on level terms at the break.
Whatever Stuart King told Town at half-time appeared to work as they restored their lead within four minutes of the restart when Conor Downey converted from Ryan Moffatt’s corner but just as King and co were getting ready to celebrate their first win of the season Limavady were awarded a penalty by referee, Kyle Barr, in injury time and Sean McCarron stepped up and secured a share of the spoils for the Roesiders.
A point was at least enough to move Banbridge off the bottom spot with Tobermore now occupying that spot due to not playing, Limavady are in 8th spot in the table and are now level on points with Armagh but were overtaken by Moyola Park due to their win elsewhere.
Lisburn Distillery 0-2 Moyola Park
Moyola Park were bottom of the table with a draw and two defeats from their opening three games of the season heading into this game with Lisburn Distillery, the Whites last league action was last month when they drew 0-0 away to Banbridge Town.
The home side were largely on top in the first half with Timmy Clarke and Michael O’Hanlon supplying plenty of crosses from the wide areas but none of this were converted, just before half-time Tiarnan Rafferty’s shot for Moyola was tipped onto the bar by Sean McIlhone.
Moyola took the lead in the 56th minute when Jake Taylor’s shot hit the bar and fell nicely for Michael Tolan to tap into an empty net. The Whites continued to apply plenty of pressure but just couldn’t find the back of the net and when Connor Lundy scored after a Rafferty shot was parried by McIlhone the game was over.
This result means the Moyola jump up to 7th in the table; giving you an idea of how tight the league is, while Distillery remains 6th.
Portstewart 5-1 Newington YC
Portstewart are the only team in the PIL still unbeaten after this comfortable win over Newington, who had also had a very positive start to the season prior to Saturday.
Goals from Mark Edgar and John Watt had Johnny Law’s Seahawks side 2-0 up by the 22nd minute. Ethan Devine managed to pull a goal back for the Belfast side five minutes before the break.
Any hopes of a Newington comeback were put to bed early in the second half when the first half substitute gave the home side two goals cushion second time in the match, and further goals from subs Christopher Hanson and Eoin Gillan wrapped up a convincing win for Portstewart.
Portstewart and Newington now switch places in the league with Law’s side now 2nd and Newington slip to 3rd.
Here is the full PIL tabe after these four games:-
There’s a full programme of PIL fixtures this weekend with the following games kicking off on Saturday at 14:00 unless otherwise stated:-
Banbridge Town v Annagh United
Portstewart v Dollingstown
Tobermore United v Lisburn Distillery
Armagh City v Newington YC (Saturday at 15:00)
Bangor v Moyola Park (Saturday at 15:00)