Loughgall safe thanks to away point

Noel Mitchell (right). Pic by Phil Ray.
Noel Mitchell (right). Pic by Phil Ray.

Noel Mitchell and his coaching team confirmed Loughgall’s dramatic upturn in fortunes on Saturday with a point to preserve NIFL Championship One status.

The 1-1 draw at Lisburn Distillery left both teams with cause for celebration at the final whistle as a share of the spoils apiece confirmed the safety of the two former top-flight clubs.

Steven Ferguson picked out Warner Mullen and a fine first touch by the latter created space for a near-post finish that handed Loughgall control.

Distillery levelled before the close of play but Loughgall collected a reward greater than the point secured from the road trip.

Mitchell - with help from Stephen Uprichard and Steven Hawe - steered Loughgall to 15 points from 12 games thanks to four wins and three draws.

The former Coagh United boss arrived at Lakeview Park as Brian Adair’s replacement with Loughgall the recently-crowned Bob Radcliffe Cup champions but struggling for league form following seven defeats from the previous 13 fixures.

“It is down to the hard work by the players,” said coach Hawe. “When we first arrived it was about building up confidence and we knew we had quality players at the club.

“We made a few signings and everyone reacted well to the coaching and ideas.

“Now we can go into our final game in a relaxed mood.”

Loughgall finish the season tomorrow (Saturday) at home to Donegal Celtic from 3 o’clock.

LOUGHGALL: Gareth Buchanan, Mark Carson, Ricky Copeland, Mark Stewart, Graeme Taylor, Steven Ferguson, Marcus Dallas, Matt McMahon, Ryan Moffatt, Aaron Patterson, Warner Mullen. Subs: Matt Reynolds, Jeff Brady, Tom Carlin, Jamie Greenaway.

Loughgall Youth under 14s had Scott McCann, Josh Woods, Ryan Faulkner, Adam Alexander and Luke Murray on target against Warrenpoint Town.

Tyrek Thompson was named Loughgall’s leading player in the National League fixture.

LOUGHGALL YOUTH: Daniel Acheson, Josh Woods, Ryan Faulkner, Jonathan Brown, Scott McCann, Jonathan Ewart, Tyrek Thompson, Adam Alexander, Dale Mulligan, Zane Brown, Kyle West, Luke Murray, Jack Hamilton.