NIFL Championship

Newington 1-2 Annagh United

ANNAGH UNITED secured victory against Newington at Solitude on Saturday in a match dominated by tough weather, condemning the North Belfast club to a third-straight league defeat.

The Portadown men got a goal in from the off with one flying in from Odhran Smyth after two minutes, the ball coming to him with a lovely pass from Ruairi McDonald.

The rest of the first half saw Annagh United pushing but Newington held their ground well and prevented the early goal from being capitalised on.

Annagh had another good go 22 minutes in when Adam Glenny took a free kick a few metres outside the box and rang it off the crossbar.

There were further attempts at 26 and 30 minutes from Ruairi McDonald, the first being saved by ‘Ton ‘keeper Gerard Walker and the second going way over.

CELEBRATIONS: Annagh players celebrating their second goal from Ruairi McDonald

CELEBRATIONS: Annagh players celebrating their second goal from Ruairi McDonald

Newington struck back with two attempts, one from Gary Warwick and Darren Stuart. Warwick’s was near the mark and Stuart’s was saved but would have been a good attempt with some more power behind the boot.

The bad weather truly rolled in at the end of the first half delivering up a treat of freezing wind and pelting rain which lasted until the final 15 minutes of the second half.

On 58 minutes, the Portadown outfit got in their second goal, a nice right footer scored by Ruairi McDonald around ten yards out with a good long ball forward by Darren Freeman.

Now trailing by two goals, the Antrim Road men launched a fightback despite the hard wind and freezing rain.

At 64 minutes Gary Warwick came in close and almost had the ball in the back of the net after attacking from the left hand corner. It was an extremely close call but Annagh ‘keeper Joel Little managed to stop the ball just on the line with the decision being bitterly debated in the Newington stands.

After half-time, Annagh made their first substitutions with Craig Taylor coming off and Niall McGinley coming on.

Another two substitutions were made later at 78 minutes with Gerard Storey and Darren Freeman coming off and Christian Stewart and Niall Henderson coming on.

Newington made some substitions of their own with Francis Rice, Pádraig Slane and Conal Burns coming on and Patrick Downey, Matthew Gorman and Aodhfionn Casey coming off at various intervals after the 60-minute mark.

With the weather abating in the last 15 minutes, there was a real drive from Newington to fight back and get a few goals in to even the scoreline.

The Antrim Road men did manage to get one goal in at 83 minutes when Michael Morgan scored a brilliant goal, once again outwitting the Annagh defence and ‘keeper, much in the same style as he did last week against Ballymoney.

The last few minutes saw a huge scramble at the Annagh net with attempts from Francis Brennan, Francis Rice and Gary Warwick making attempts to get the ball in and Annagh having to throw everything into their defence to make sure it didn’t happen.

Annagh’s defence was ultimately able to keep the equaliser from being scored with great defending from Jordan Campbell.

SCAMBLE: The last few minutes saw a close scramble for a goal as Newington tried to equalise

SCAMBLE: The last few minutes saw a close scramble for a goal as Newington tried to equalise

The match concluded a few moments later after an injury-time free kick from Newington. The final score being 2-1 to Annagh United.

ANNAGH UNITED: J Little, N Kerr, A Glenny, J Campbell, G Storey, C Taylor, C Taylor, R McDonald (goal 58 minutes), O Smyth (goal 2 minutes), S McGuinness, R Moffat, D Freeman

Subs: N McGinley, C Stewart, N Henderson

NEWINGTON: G Walker, F Brennan, A Casey, M Gorman, K Bradley, G Warwick, D Stuart, P Downey, T McNicholl, M Morgan (goal 83 minues), J Reilly

Subs: F Rice, P Slane, C Burns

REFEREE: Shane McGonigle