Loughgall back on track with league and cup double joy

Daniel Ryan (second left) celebrates finding the net in Loughgall's midweek defeat of Portadown.INPT44-237
Daniel Ryan (second left) celebrates finding the net in Loughgall's midweek defeat of Portadown.INPT44-237

Back-to-back wins off the back of a 7-3 defeat have served up additional evidence to joint manager Steven Hawe of Loughgall’s growing team spirit.

The Villagers met Lisburn Distillery last weekend then top-flight Portadown in Tuesday’s Mid-Ulster Cup quarter-finals.

Both fixtures arrived following the high-scoring reverse by Larne.

“We probably could have lost last season so to get two wins shows the unity and growing confidence across the squad,” said Hawe, the joint manager alongside Stephen Uprichard. “It was a good response to the Larne match and important to get back on track.

“We did not play that well against Distillery and they finished with seven players on the pitch, however, we can only look after our own performance.

“In the same way, Portadown had a mix of youth and senior players out for the midweek tie but we can be pleased with our display.

“There is a good atmosphere around the club and team spirit remains strong, with players working hard.”

Warner Mullen slotted home two penalty kicks in the weekend win against a Distillery side with no fewer than four red cards from the afternoon.

Aaron Walsh kicked off the scoring against Portadown before Daniel Ryan grabbed a goal in each half to complete the 3-2 success.

“There is a certain amount of strength-in-depth now across the squad, which obviously helps,” said Hawe. “We are trying to get the right blend physically.

“The Larne result probably gave a few of the lads a kick up the backside so it was great to see two wins from the next two games.

“We now have two semi-finals to enjoy, in the Mid-Ulster and Bob Radcliffe cups.

“It is about making progress as a group and we have a squad with plenty of characters.

“We can approach games with a certain amount of flexibility.”

Loughgall face a free weekend before the visit to Harland and Wolff Welders on November 7.