- Larne’s unbeaten run comes to an end, as they are defeated by Ballymena United.
- Linfield go top – as they come from behind to beat Glenavon.
- Carrick Rangers remain bottom as they couldn’t see off the challenge from Coleraine.
Larne 0-1 Ballymena United
What a strong start to the season it has been for Larne. Before Saturday’s encounter with the Sky Blues, they had gone 10 games without defeat – and knocked Linfield off the top. Well, the 2-week enforced break just came at the wrong time for Tiernan Lynch and his side – as they lost this encounter at home to Ballymena. It had not been the perfect start to the season for the Sky Blues with four defeats on the bounce. But after this win, they have now gone seven games undefeated and move into the fourth position in the league.
The only goal of the game came from the head of Sky Blues defender Kofi Balmer. The Sky Blues have now started to gel as a team. It has taken a while for the new signings to bed in and understand the philosophy that Jeffery has implemented, but they now look like a team that is going to be hard to crack.
Larne will come again. They have too good, and big, of a squad. Maybe this week with the transfer window reopened we will see the addition of more players into the big Larne enterprise project going on down at Inver. Watch this space!
Glenavon 1-2 Linfield
The Blues knocked Larne off top spot after coming from a goal behind to beat Glenavon 2-1. Danny Purkis gave the Lurgan Blues the lead. But it took the Blues until the second half to kick into life. Straight after the interval, they were level through the head of Niall Quinn. The Blues claimed all three points through a wonderful effort from Jordan Stewart. A goal worthy of winning any game. A great three points for the Blues and more points on their march towards the title.
Crusaders 4-0 Warrenpoint Town
A lot of talk of this being a potential banana skin for the Crues, but they went about the challenge with 100% professionalism. The first goal was what fans have been crying out for and what this team is capable of. Fast-flowing football with the ball on the ground. Quick, interchanging passes through the middle saw Phillip Lowry find Adam Lecky, who directed the ball home for the first goal of the encounter. Then, it turned into the Paul Heatley show. The ever-green winger finished off the day on the end of a hat-trick.
The only downside for the Crues were the few injuries that were picked up. Ross Clarke will be out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury. The impressive centre back Aidan Watson also went off early in the first half with an injury. Heatley then hobbled off towards the end of the game.
Coleraine 3-0 Carrick Rangers
Carrick remains at the wrong end of the table after this defeat at the hands of Coleraine. On a plus side (if you could call it that), they are only four points behind eleventh placed Dungannon with three games in hand.
The Bannsiders remain in the fifth position and won this encounter through goals from Ben Doherty from the spot, Stewart Nixon and Eoin Bradley. The game could have been a different picture – if Rangers had taken the chance to take the lead in the first half with Caolon Loughran’s spot-kick. But instead, it was saved by the Bannsiders keeper Gareth Deane.
Dungannon Swifts 1-2 Cliftonville
Cliftonville left it late to turn around this game. The Swifts got the first of the game through an Aaron Donnelly own goal. Chris Curran then grabbed the equaliser for the North Belfast side. Then it was the turn of Ryan Curran who converted a penalty late on the to give the Reds the victory. Defeat for the Swifts leaves them looking over their shoulder – Carrick have games in hand on them and we are not even in the second half of the season yet. When we eventually get there, this bottom of the table battle will be one to watch.
Glentoran 2-1 Portadown
The Glens also left it late to get the victory against Portadown. I am still waiting to see this Glentoran team push on and show the quality they clearly have. Maybe it is just around the corner. The Glens got off to a flyer and were 2-0 up within the first 15 minutes. Goals from Patrick McClean and Jay Donnelly gave them a healthy cushion. But that was that. The goals stopped and the Ports got themselves a lifeline late on through Adam Sally. But it was all too little, too late for the Ports – and the Glens held on for the three points.