- Linfield show why they are champions in a 2-1 victory away to Crusaders.
- Larne drop more points in their pursuit of the title.
- Carrick Rangers pick up an all-important three points away to fellow strugglers – Dungannon Swifts.
Crusaders 1-2 Linfield
When they look back at the result, the Crues will only have themselves to blame for not taking all three points in this top of the table encounter. For the second time this season, they came up short against the Blues, and by the same scoreline. More importantly, we are led to believe they are still in the title race. If you are not beating the teams around you, then you clearly will not be lifting the title come May. That is if we continue to see football played out until then and don’t turn to other forms of fun.
The Crues had chance after chance in this game. But far too often they wasted the opportunities. The Blues took the lead through a goal direct from a corner in the second half. Niall Quinn delivering the ball straight into the net, leaving Jonny Tuffey at sixes and sevens. The Crues then got back on level terms late on when, from another corner, the ball ended up in the net. Philip Lowry claiming the goal. But in injury time Jimmy Callacher got onto the end of a Joel Cooper cross to give the Blues all three points.
Larne 1-1 Warrenpoint Town
Larne remains in second position after this draw. But this is the fourth game on the bounce at home that they have not picked up all three points. A team that trains every day, on the same pitch, are struggling to see teams off. Maybe something needs to be changed around the philosophy of football within Larne. With the Crues’ inability to beat the teams around them, Larne will count themselves lucky they are still in second position.
Larne took the lead in this one early on through Jonny McMurray. But that was it for the Larne men. They couldn’t push on and finish the game off. Maybe too much tika taka football through the thirds. Which looks good on the eye – but if you are not finishing teams off – it is pretty irrelevant. The Point equalised late on from the head of Daniel Byrne.
Coleraine 1-1 Portadown
Coleraine remains in fourth position but after this draw, it is eight games undefeated for the men from the North West. Portadown sits in eleventh, but they are showing signs of a team that can compete at this level. If they could just get a little consistency, they would be a lot higher up that leader board.
The Bannsiders struck first through Stewart Nixon before Adam Salley quickly got the equaliser for the Ports. But Sally then turned the villain when he saw red late on for a late challenge. So, a draw for the Ports which they will happily take. But for the Bannsiders – this is three points they should have secured.
Dungannon Swifts 0-2 Carrick Rangers
So, with the curtail of the Championship, this was a free hit for both these clubs. We will have no relegation or playoffs this season. Rangers currently sit bottom, with the Swifts now four points ahead of them. Rangers have three games in hand on the Swifts. I think the signing of Roy Carroll might not be enough to keep the Swifts off the bottom spot come the end of the season.
I have been talking about it for that last number of weeks. Rangers need to a win to get themselves going. And what a way to get it. Away to fellow strugglers, the Swifts. Mark Surgenor got the first through a wonderful free-kick. Jordan Gibson sealed the win late on.
Glentoran 1-0 Cliftonville
I excepted more from this game. Two teams with real quality offensive players could only conjure up one goal between them. This win brings the Glens two points behind of the Reds, with two games in hand on them. It still leaves the Glens in seventh. A little off the European place they need to get a return of the European money. Let’s face it, that’s why we have certain teams heavily invested in by businessmen.
The goal that sealed this game was a very special one indeed. If you get a chance check it out. Have a look as it sits as a contender for goal of the season from Jamie McDonagh. McDonagh latching onto the ball outside the box and unleashing a volley into the Reds’ net. The Reds also didn’t help themselves by going down to ten men. After Garry Breen saw red for a second bookable offence.
Glenavon 2-1 Ballymena United
The teams most inconstant team for the last few seasons, ‘Glenavon’ picked up their first win of 2021 with this single goal victory against an in-form Sky Blues. Goals from Conor McCloskey and one from the spot for Michael O’Connor were enough to give the Lurgan Blues all three points. The Sky Blues got a late consolation through Josh Kelly, but it was all too little too late.
Danske Bank Premiership