On the weekend that Carl Frampton was the spectacle at Windsor Park it was perhaps fitting that the league fixtures were littered with haymakers of their own. James Knowles, Shane McGinty, Peter McMahon and Michael McCrudden all striking showreel finishes.
Newry City 1-2 Glenavon (Friday 7.45pm)
Glenavon opened the scoring on 22 minutes after Mark Sykes was felled in the box by Newry stopper Andy Coleman. Gary Muir stepped up and coolly sent Coleman the wrong way. The Lurgan Blues doubled their lead just over ten minutes later when a long Mark Sykes pass over the top was nudged beyond the on-rushing Coleman by Stephen Donnelly. On the cusp of half-time Newry halved the deficit with Stephen Teggart beating Jonathan Tuffey at his near post but the damage had been done and Glenavon claimed a deserved away win.
Ards 1-2 Ballymena United
Ards surrendered a first-half lead to remain pointless after three games. Mark Kelly’s opener came via a deflection off teammate Joshua Kelly, sneaking in at Ross Glendinning’s far post. The Sky Blues equalised ten minutes into the second half through James Knowles’ dipping strike from just outside the box. The turnaround was completed on 76 minutes when Shane McGinty’s excellent side-foot volley from 20 yards found the top corner.
Crusaders 0-2 Linfield
Linfield kept up their 100% winning start to the season with an impressive victory over incumbent league champions Crusaders at Seaview. Joel Cooper scored on 35 minutes when he somehow managed to find himself completely unmarked in the Crues’ six-yard box to tap home Chris Casement’s cross. Joel Cooper turned provider for the second as he led a swift breakaway to set up Jamie Mulgrew who finished neatly beyond Sean O’Neill.
Dungannon Swifts 1-1 Cliftonville
Cliftonville’s late equaliser denied the Swifts a first win of the season at Stangmore Park. After a goalless first half, Mark Patton opened the scoring on the hour mark with a superbly taken strike from outside the area that looped over Richard Brush. With minutes remaining on the clock, the Reds found an equaliser when Joe Gormley crossed for Jay Donnelly to strike the ball home with a neat side-foot volley.
Glentoran 2-2 Coleraine
A late Coleraine goal rescued a point for the Bannsiders after a valiant Glentoran effort. A few minutes from halftime it was the away side who opened the scoring, Brad Lyons heading in at the Sydenham end from a corner. Glentoran equalised early in the second half as Curtis Allen guided the ball in from close range from a Dylan Davidson freekick delivery. In a day of goal of the season contenders, Peter McMahon made his own submission with a thunderous effort from over 30 yards straight into the top corner of the net. However, in the 88th minute, Darren McCauley’s run down the left lead to a cross that was powered home by the head of Eoin Bradley to share the spoils of the day.
Institute 2-0 Warrenpoint Town
‘Stute made it two wins from three against 10 man Warrenpoint at the Brandywell. The game kicked into life on the half-hour mark when Point’s Danny Wallace was dismissed for a dangerous lunge on Jamie McIntyre. 6 minutes later the home side took the lead when Michael McCrudden converted from the spot after being fouled by Eamon Scannell in the box. The tie was put to bed just after the hour when the ball bounced kindly in front of McCrudden 25 yards from goal and he struck sweetly beyond the grasp of Berrat Turker.
Carl Frampton steals the show at Windsor Park
As a side note to the football, it was great to see this spectacle take place after so much talk. The National Stadium definitely looked the part under this temporary set-up with a reported crowd of 25,000.
— Official Irish FA (@OfficialIrishFA) August 18, 2018