‘Slane go top of the league

Gareth Rees, Gareth Bingham, Stevie Coulter, Gregg Harrison all scored to send Moneyslane top of the league.
Gareth Rees, Gareth Bingham, Stevie Coulter, Gregg Harrison all scored to send Moneyslane top of the league.

Moneyslane are now five points clear at the top of Intermediate B.

That’s after they secured a 2-1 win over Lurgan Town on Tuesday evening, Darrah Peden heading home before Mark Ervine blasted in the winner from the edge of the box.

Windmill Stars, however, are three points behind with, crucially, two games in hand.

It keeps up their good run and follows hot on the heels after a 4-0 victory over Richhill on Saturday.

Richhill earlier in the season took ‘Slane to penalties in the Bob Radcliffe Cup, and the Co Armagh outfit still maintained some hope of being in the promotion race.

With a full squad to choose from Stevie Coulter, Michael Ferguson and Darragh Peden were restored to the starting line-up.

It was a cagey opening by both teams with the away team showing they had come to compete.

Both teams created chances with Gareth Rees smashing the underside of the bar, then Johnny Kernaghan seeing a shot well saved for the home team.

Richhill forced a series of free kicks and corners but the home defence dealt with the threat.

The game was competitive with a number of players making their way into the notebook but the referee did well in handling the rising tempers.

Just when it looked like the game would be all square at the break, ‘Slane scored two quick goals.

Firstly Gareth Rees was on hand to thump the ball home after the keeper had parried a Johnny Kernaghan shot. Then almost immediately it was 2-0 when Stevie Coulter picked up a loose ball in the box, side stepped two defenders before finding the bottom corner.

Richhill had to come out and push for a goal and had a great chance when a player went through 1v1 but he fired wide.

However, on 55 minutes Richhill scored when the left winger cut back inside his marker and his cross was headed home from 10 yards.

Game on it seemed as Richhill saw hope, but it was soon extinguished when Gregg Harrison superbly executed an overhead kick eight yards out and the ball sailed into the top corner.

The home team introduced fresh legs when Jonny Gibson came on for Adam Stewart, Ally Quinn for Ryan Shilliday and Gareth Bingham for Michael Ferguson to see the game out.

‘Slane started to get on top with the pace on either flank and Gregg Harrison looking dangerous.

Richhill were reduced to 10 when a defender was red carded for a lunge at the effervescent Johnny Kernaghan.

The strong ‘Slane performance was capped with an excellent team goal with Johnny Kernaghan, Gregg Harrison and Stevie Coulter all combining to set up club skipper Gareth Bingham who fired home low and hard into the bottom corner.

Commenting after Saturday’s game, Moneyslane FC manager David Johnstone said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the players. Richhill were very much in the game in the first half but the two goals we scored late in the half gave give us an advantage heading in at the break.

“After a number of relatively easier games Richhill gave us a good game in the first half, but I felt we won comfortably in the end.

“The players had to up their game and they responded well,” he said.

“After today’s result we need to win four games out of last 10 to be promoted, but as always we will keep taking one game at a time.”

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