The Noel Mitchell era at Loughgall officially sparked into life on Saturday with a significant 2-1 win away to Ballyclare Comrades.
Goals by Warner Mullen and Marcus Dallas handed Mitchell’s men a welcome league victory - a first since his January appointment as boss and a result that helped to stop the rot following 12 NIFL Championship One outings without victory.
Loughgall hit the road in search of a first league success since September 20 and it arrived at Ballyclare for a reward that puts the Villagers four points clear of PSNI and seven beyond bottom-placed Dundela in the standings.
“It has been a while but we knew it would only be a matter of time, based on the attitude of the lads since we arrived,” said Loughgall coach Steven Hawe. “We have always maintained the quality is at the club so now we want to use this as a turning point and push on over the remaining games.
“It comes as a massive boost for the club and, from a coaching viewpoint, it was encouraging to see the players dig in deep and grind out the win.
“That proves the resolve in the group and we had to show a lot of resilience to graft a way to the points.
“It now gives us a bit of breathing space above the bottom sides so we will be trying to finish as high as possible.
“We needed that one result and everything went according to plan.
“Warner gives 200 per cent commitment in everything he does and people like Marcus and Gary Henderson can produce something special.
“Steven Ferguson was brilliant in midfield and Gareth Buchanan made some important saves.
“We looked compact overall and can be pleased with a return of four points from the three games against Ards, Bangor and Ballyclare Comrades.”
Loughgall face a free weekend but host Harland and Wolff Welders on Tuesday then Dergview next weekend before a midweek trip to Carrick Rangers.
“We will get the lads in on Saturday for some light work,” said Hawe. “That also helps maintain the routine in the group of a game then training then a game.
“We have a full squad for the next match, with the exception of Mark Carson due to his ankle injury.”
Kick-off on Tuesday will be 7.45 at Lakeview Park.