Loughgall made to battle all the way

Action from the Loughgall game on Saturday.
Action from the Loughgall game on Saturday.

Loughgall had a real battle on their hands before getting the better of Crumlin United to book their place in the next round of the Intermediate Cup.

The reward for Brian Adair’s team is a trip to the winners of the tie between Knockbreada and Crusaders Reserves on January 14.

Manager Brian Adair give a first team debut to under 17 goalkeeper Odhran Robinson with Gareth Buchanan missing due to personal reasons.

On 16 minutes Loughgall opened the scoring when Mark Carson’s pinpoint cross was headed home by Stephen O’Neill from inside the penalty area.

The hosts’ lead was doubled in the 24 minute when Steven Ferguson’s incisive pass released Warner Mullen who confidently slotted past the outrushing goalkeeper Mark McKeown.

Just before the break Crumlin pulled a goal back when Pat McIlhenny’s low cross was flicked in by Caolm McAllister inside the front post.

Forward Mullen grabbed his second goal of the game on the hour mark when he curled a 20 yard free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner of the United goals.

Three minutes the visitors pulled another goal back when the dangerous Aaron McKinney fired home for a well-taken goal.

Loughgall recovered and went into another two goal lead when Stephen O’Neill netted his 20th goal of the season with a confident finish after seeing off Gerard Keenan’s challenge.

With one minute remaining Crumlin scored again to set-up a nervy finish. McKinney set-up strike partner McIlhenny who slid the ball home from close range.

Loughgall: Robinson, Carson, Finlay, Alderdice, Black, Moffatt, Dallas, Ferguson (Kearney 83m), D Burns (Kingsberry 70m), O’Neill (A Burns 70m), Mullen. Unused subs: Copeland, Stewart.

Crumlin United: McKeown, Wall, Doherty, Keenan, McCourt (McCullagh 70m), McAllister, Burke, McCafferty (Longstaff 77m), McIlhenny, McKinney, Corey (McAuley 61m).