25 Mar 2023
© Luis Moore/HW Welders Matthew Ferguson rues a missed opportunity at the Blanchflower Stadium

The last round of pre-split games in the Lough 41 Championship produced victories for Ards, Ballinamallard United, Institute and Warrenpoint Town. 
There were also draws at the Blanchflower Stadium and Solitude. 
Leaders Loughgall were involved in one of those stalemates after they visited HW Welders to come away with a point after a scoreless draw. Mark Patton perhaps came closest to finding a way through when, in the closing moments, he struck the crossbar from the edge of the box. 
Second placed Warrenpoint Town closed the gap a little to six points with a 3-0 defeat of Dergview at Milltown. 
Steven Ball opened the scoring midway through the first half with a finish into the bottom corner before teeing Jake O’Connor to add a second moments from the break. Ray O’Sullivan completed the scoring late in the game. 
Ards made sure of their place in the top six with a thumping 5-1 victory over Dundela at Wilgar Park. 
The sides traded goals in the first half with Jonathan Russell cancelling out Patrick Cafolla’s opener, but Ards stepped up a gear after the break to secure the points. Ethan Taggart made it 2-1, Cafolla bagged his second and Adam Salley hit two late goals – and managed to miss from the spot. 
Ballinamallard United can still make the top six following their two-goal defeat of Annagh United. 
The Mallards claimed the points with a goal in each half after Patrick Ferry added to Mark Stafford’s first half strike. Harry McConkey’s side complete the pre-split schedule next week when they travel to face Knockbreda next Saturday knowing a win will see them leapfrog Ballyclare Comrades who currently occupy sixth spot. 
The Comrades were held to a 2-2 draw away to Newington. Gary Warwick opened the scoring for the Swans but goals from Darius Roohi and Conall McGrandles handed the visitors the advantage at the break before Eamonn Hughes levelled things from the spot with around 15 minutes remaining. 
Institute did their survival hopes a world of good with victory away to bottom of the table Knockbreda. 
A thrilling encounter, ‘Stute came from two goals down to secure the points. Lee McGreevy and Callum McVeigh put ‘Breda into a strong position but two Sean McCarron goals either side of the break saw the visitors draw level before Ronan McAleer knocked home the winner later in the second half.