‘Slane give leaders Dungannon Tigers a mauling in own den

Johnny Kernaghan and Gregg Harrison were Slane's scorers at the weekend.
Johnny Kernaghan and Gregg Harrison were Slane's scorers at the weekend.
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Moneyslane travelled to current league leaders Dunganon Tigers in what promised to be an important game in the race for promotion.

‘Slane welcomed back Michael Ferguson, Stevie Coulter and Mark Ervine to the starting line up.

From the whistle Moneyslane looked hungry for the game and forced a series of corners.

On 12 minutes the early pressure was rewarded when Stevie Coulter volleyed the ball goalward and Gregg Harrison was on hand to divert the ball past the home keeper.

Gregg Harrison had a wonderful opportunity to extend the lead when put through by an excellent through ball, but the home keeper rushed out and diverted the ball for a corner.

By the midway point of the first half the game was much more even with Tigers enjoying some good possession.

On 15 minutes Stevie White produced a superb save with his feet preventing what seemed a certain goal from a point blank header.

As the game headed towards half time it was the home team on top forcing a series of free kicks and corners.

From a free kick it seemed the ball was driving towards the far corner only for Stevie White to dive full length and tip the ball around the post for a fantastic save.

Then right on half time the home team were awarded a penalty when Michael Ferguson was adjudged to have blocked an attackers run but the striker hit the inside of the post and the ball rebounded to safety.

The second half could not have started better for ‘Slane as with their first attack Johnny Kernaghan was brought down for a penalty and he dusted himself down to put Slane 2-0 up.

Ally Quinn replaced the injured Michael Ferguson at right back.

The next 25 minutes were uneventful with Tigers having some good possession but ‘Slane defending very well and trying to hit on the break.

The Tigers had a player sent off for a second yellow card which made their task harder.

With 20 minutes to go ‘Slane introduced fresh legs with skipper Gareth Bingham and Adam Stewart coming on for Mark Ervine and Gareth Rees bringing a switch to 4-3-3 and ‘Slane dominated the remainder of the game.

On 84 minutes good pressure from Gregg Harrison and Brian Quilty forced a bad pass from a defender and Johnny Kernaghan picked up the loose ball at the edge of the box and fired the ball into the top corner to make it 3-0.

Manager David Johnstone said: “Today was a hugely significant result as it closed the gap between us and Dungannon Tigers to six points with five games in hand over them.

“In the first half after a bright start and going 1-0 up we took our foot off the gas and really only for two great saves by Stevie White and a missed penalty it may have been a different game.

“Once we scored the second I thought we controlled the game really well and defensively the back four and two central midfielders were solid.”

He added: “Today again proved the importance of the squad with an injury to Michael Ferguson early in the second half seeing Ally Quinn coming on and doing very well and both Gareth Bingham and Adam Stewart bringing on fresh legs when we needed them.

“It was gutsy performance today with some hard graft in the second half, but it is impressive that we went to the league leaders and took three points. “Most pleasing of all to me is that’s two clean sheets in a row and Stevie White was back to his best today with two stunning saves when the score was 1-0 and with an all round confident display.”

Team: Stevie White, Michael Ferguson, Neil Taylor, Ryan Shilliday, Darragh Peden, Mark Ervine, Stevie Coulter, Gregg Harrison, Brian Quilty, Gareth Rees and Johnny Kernaghan. Subs: Gareth Bingham, Ally Quinn and Adam Stewart.