A much busier week across the Intermediate leagues this weekend with 18 games in a bumper day’s action.
We start in Mid Ulster, where long-time league favourites Crewe United dropped points for only the second time this season in a 1-1 draw at Windmill Stars. This result was capitalised on by both Hanover and Banbridge Rangers, who both picked up solid victories.
Hanover travelled to Kilkeel to face Valley Rangers, where goals from Jake Gilpin (two), Jake Gilchrist and Stevie Douglas saw them to a 4-2 win. Rangers, meanwhile, welcomed Laurelvale to Cheney Park and they triumphed 2-0 over the relegation-haunted side, goals coming from Josh Cahoon and Andy Mallen.
This was followed by a bumper match up in midweek, as Hanover travelled to Crewe Park in a match that could have a big say in the destination of the title. Hanover inflicted the hosts first league defeat of the season in a 6-3 victory following a tremendous game of football. Jake Gilpin netted a hat trick, while Matty Richardson and Jake Richardson finished off the scoring to open up a 12-point gap between the sides, albeit with Crewe having five games in hand.
Meanwhile, Bottom side AFC Silverwood’s struggles continued as they fell to a 7-0 defeat at StMary’ss, while the spoils were shared at Madden Park in a goalless draw between Tandragee Rovers and Moneyslane. It was a point apiece at the Valley Stadium as well where Fivemiletown United welcomed Richhill AFC and they fought out a 1-1 draw with the two sides comfortably nestled in mid table.
There was plenty of drama in the NAFL, with the results tightening up the top four even further. Leaders Immaculata kept up their good form with a 1-0 win over Drumaness Mills at Grosvenor, while second place Shankill United dropped points in their home game with fourth placed city rivals East Belfast, losing 2-1 at the Hammer.
Champions Crumlin Star enjoyed a 3-0 win on their return to league action, this win coming at the Drome over Ards Rangers, Ryan McPhillips, Barry McKervey and Ciaran Murphy netting the goals that made it nine wins from nine in the league campaign for Paul Trainor’s men.
At the foot of the table, Crumlin United picked up a massive win, seeing off relegation rivals Albert Foundry at Paisley Park 2-1, Andy Mooney with a brace to give United a four-point lead over Foundry, while having played six games less. Rock bottom Downpatrick picked up a rare point, only their fifth of the season while sharing the spoils in an entertaining 3-3 draw at home to Islandmagee.
Title challenging St James Swifts were back in league action this weekend, and they travelled north to Ballymoney United where their title credentials were put to the test by the hosts. A topsy turvy game ended 5-4 to the Swifts, with Eugene Gallacher the star man netting a hat trick. Elsewhere, Chimney Corner romped to a 6-0 win over Desertmartin at Allen Park, while Brantwood eased to a 3-0 home win over lowly Ballynure OB at Skegoneill.
In the NI Intermediate League, the top four all secured wins this weekend. Leaders Newbuildings welcomed near neighbours Trojans to the Newbuildings Community Centre, where Dylan McCorkell, Jordan Killen and Darren Robb goals saw them to a 3-0 victory. Second-placed Magherafelt Sky Blues got back to winning ways thanks to a 5-3 home win over Dungiven, Ciaran Monaghan, Ray Wilkinson, Mark McGrogan, Anthony O’Neill and Conor McCluskey got the goals to give the reigning champions a much-needed victory.
Strabane Athletic welcomed rock bottom Oxford United Stars to Melvin, and the hosts secured a hard-fought 1-0 win against a spirited Stars rearguard. Sean Ferry netting the winner with almost the final kick of the game to leave the visitors devastated to be leaving with nothing. In the final game of the day, Maiden City triumphed 3-0 over Ardstraw at Swilly Stadium, their goals coming from Matthew Duffy, Aaron Walsh and Declan McKeever. This result opened up a six-point gap between 4th and 5th place, making it very much a league of two halves.
Northern Amateur Football League Premier Division
Immaculata F.C. 1-0 Drumaness Mills
Albert Foundry F.C. 1-2 Crumlin United
Shankill United 1-2 East Belfast
Ards Rangers 0-3 Crumlin Star
Downpatrick F.C. 3-3 Islandmagee
|9||1st Bangor Old Boys||17||6||2||9||32||28||4||20|
|11||Derriaghy C C||17||5||2||10||21||41||-20||17|
|13||Albert Foundry F.C.||20||2||6||12||24||46||-22||12|
Mid Ulster Intermediate A
Banbridge Rangers 2 – 0 Laurelvale
Fivemiletown United 1 – 1 Richhill AFC
St Marys 7 – 0 AFC Silverwood
Tandragee Rovers 0 – 0 Moneyslane
Valley Rangers 2 – 4 Hanover
Windmill Stars 1 – 1 Crewe United
Crewe United 3-6 Hanover
Ballymena & Provincial Intermediate League
Brantwood 3-0 Ballynure OB
Ballymoney Utd 4-5 St James Swifts
Chimney Corner 6-0 Desertmartin
|3||St James Swifts||10||9||0||1||48||12||36||27|
NI Intermediate League
Magherafelt Sky Blues 5-3 Dungiven
Maiden City 3-0 Ardstraw
Newbuildings Utd 3-0 Trojans
Strabane Athletic 1-0 Oxford United Stars
|2||Magherafelt Sky Blues||12||7||1||4||31||22||9||22|
|8||Oxford United Stars||10||0||1||9||4||26||-22||1|