20 Apr 2024
© David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Portadown clinched the Playr-Fit Championship title following a dramatic afternoon that still leaves three sides very much in contention for the play-off spot.

The Ports guaranteed top spot following a draw with Dundela at Shamrock Park, while for Annagh United, Institute and Bangor it all goes down to the final game to see who will come up against Ballymena United for a place in the Premiership next season.

Niall Currie’s side knew a win would be enough but, in the end, a point did it after the game between ‘Stute and Bangor also ended in deadlock.

Scoreless at the break, Ryan Mayse edged the Ports in front on 67 minutes with a strike into the bottom corner but, ten minutes after that, Jordan Jenkins levelled for the visitors from close range to set up a nervous, emotionally charged finish.

At the Brandywell ‘Stute held the upper hand when, on 15 minutes, Oisin Devlin knocked the ball home from just outside the six yard box.

Bangor equalised just before the break, however, courtesy of Ben Cushnie’s back post header but despite both sides having their chances in the second half there was no further scoring.

Annagh United also kept their hopes very much alive with a 2-1 defeat of HW Welders at the Blanchflower Stadium.

First half goals from James Convie and Ruairi McDonald put Ciaran McGurgan’s men very much in control and whilst Tiarnan O’Connor did pull one back for the Welders the visitors held on to claim the points.

In Section B Ballyclare Comrades swept past Newington 4-2 at Inver Park, racing into a two-goal lead at the break through Michael Morgan, Gary Donnelly and two from Brian Healy whilst the Swans bagged a couple of second half consolation goals from Patrick Downey and Paul Donnelly.

Ards went one better at Ferney Park, however, with a five-goal victory over Ballinamallard – with all their goals again coming before the break!

Connor Maxwell kicked the scoring off around the 20-minute mark followed swiftly by a Michael Ruddy spot-kick, a Joshua Andrews set piece and a second for Maxwell before Adam McCallum wrapped the scoring up in stoppage time.

Meanwhile, Dergview and Knockbreda shared the spoils at Darragh Park. Damian Duffy found the net for the home side, with Matthew Henry registering for the visitors.