Andy Mitchell ‘at the double’ as Coleraine ship four against Glenavon. Three games survive the weekend weather and Cliftonville’s hot strike force just keep scoring the goals.
So, the weather took over this weekend. Game after game feels the effect of elements. In some ways the manner the games had been called off were questionable. Newry City were to host Linfield. The game scheduled for 13:00, was called off at 10:45 with a water-logged pitch as the explanation. The Blues’ team were already on the road as were the majority of supporters. Unless we had one of the worst downpours to hit County Down this century, surely this call could have been made earlier.
Glentoran at home to Warrenpoint Town passed a pitch inspection at 11:30. At 11:45 the Glens asked the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) to re-inspect the field due to water starting to lie in the goalmouths. The game was subsequently called off.
The game between Ballymena United and Institute once again fell foul to the elements. A pitch inspection was conducted at 10:45. A further pitch inspection at midday saw the game called off.
The weekend got off to a flyer for the ones that were played. The BBC cameras were at Mourneview Park to see Glenavon entertain Coleraine. On paper a very close game but that’s not how this played out.
A very open game was soon off and running when Conor McCloskey got in behind the Bannsiders’ defence to pick out Andy Mitchell in the box to convert. Mitchell was again the scorer as the Lurgan Blues extended their lead. This for me was a wonderful goal. Mitchell knew what he was doing, having a quick look up to see where Chris Johns was then lobbing the ball over him into the net.
Number three came from Mark Sykes. The young lad this week has agreed to join Port Vale and a well-deserved crack at the real side of full-time football. Sykes made a wonderful run which was not picked up by the Bannsiders’ defence, collected the ball and coolly finished off.
Substitute Jordan Jenkins finished the contest off with a predatory finish to make it a 4-0 home win to the Lurgan Blues.
Cliftonville travelled to bottom team Ards who have not been able to register a win in their last seven games. Within 10 minutes the Reds had missed a penalty through Joe Gormley and scored two. Penny for Colin Nixon’s thoughts.
It didn’t take long for the Reds to go in front and it was Rory Donnelly who obliged after wonderful work from Joe Gormley. Next, it was Donnelly repaying Gormley allowing Gormley to finish.
Gormley has been the talk of the papers this week. Where will he end up in January? Shamrock Rovers have made it clear their intentions to sign him but it seems Crusaders might be putting a bid of their own in. Let’s see where this one finishes.
Donnelly this time was the unfortunate scorer for Ards. A corner played into the box by Ards was met by Donnelly who was standing on his own in the box but for some reason, he directed a header into his own net. An interesting one this.
The game finished 3-1 to the Reds and it was Levi Ives who got the third. A cross into the box was left by everyone and found its way into the Ards net.
Over at Seaview, it was Dungannon who were the visitors. The Crues have had one of their worst starts. I’m talking present tense not past here – just to make sure there are no crossed wires. Not going back to the wonderful world of the 1980s.
At home, Crues are still getting the results and especially at home winning their last five (prior to the start of this game). Problems have been against the league’s better teams. The only goal of the game came from the head of Jordan Forsythe. The goal came on nine minutes. A very rare start for David Cushley who delivered a corner into the box where Forsythe headed it in unopposed.
There were chances for both teams to get further goals in this one. Dungannon have drawn their last three games away from home and probably thought this was going to be the result today. However, the game resulted in a 1-0 win for Crues. This win gave Crues a run of six home wins in a row.
The Crues seem to be looking to dip into the transfer market. Joe Gormley is a possible target but will he sign for Crues? And now the Crues have got themselves into the mix with big spending Larne and Linfield for the services of Ballymena’s Jonny McMurray. Another bid for Jamie McGonigle might be an option due to the unsettled team at the Showgrounds. If the Crues get this right, and with only a few points between them and top spot, the second half of the league may get interesting. It’s all going to be about the busy Xmas period.