30 Apr 2024
© Stephen Hamilton / Presseye Daniel Lafferty celebrates

Premiership Promotion-Relegation Playoff 1st Leg

Institute 1-0 Ballymena United

Daniel Lafferty’s goal has put Institute in pole position in the Premiership Promotion-Relegation Playoff after tonight’s first leg tie.

It was the Premiership side that started the brighter, as Ballymena United midfielder Fraser Taylor drilled an effort against the post on eleven minutes, but the ball cannoned away to safety with the goalkeeper beaten.

United stopper Sean O’Neill was called into action on the half-hour, parrying a long range effort from Institute full-back Coaimhin Porter.

Porter again went close at the very end of the first half, as the home side piled on the pressure. Sean Carlin’s initial effort was well blocked by O’Neill and Porter couldn’t follow up with a half-volley which was headed clear by McCullough.

The deadlock was finally broken on 57 minutes as Stute broke away and Jamie Dunne squared the ball across to Daniel Lafferty, who took a touch before rifling an unstoppable drive past O’Neill from 30 yards.

It proved to be the winner, as despite Ballymena’s failed attempts to force an equaliser, it is Championship runners-up Institute that take a valuable one goal lead into the second leg at the Ballymena Showgrounds this Friday night.

Championship Promotion-Relegation Playoff 1st Leg

Armagh City 1-1 Dergview

The battle for a place in next season’s Playr-Fit Championship remains finely poised after Armagh City and Dergview couldn’t be separated at Holm Park.

Ivan Sproule’s Dergview took the lead on 34 minutes through fortuitous circumstances as Marc Walsh’s shot was deflected off Armagh City defender Ethan Jordan into his own goal.

Armagh had a chance to redeem themselves just four minutes later when Igor Rutkowski was upended by goalkeeper Shane O’Gara. Stefan Lavery stepped up to hit the resulting spot kick, but O’Gara saved superbly to keep his side in the lead.

The hosts did get their equaliser on 69 minutes through substitute Marc McConnell, as he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and lifted a stunning effort over the Dergview keeper and into the net.

The tie now goes to Darragh Park on Friday night with a ‘winner take all’ second leg in store.