Ballymena & Provincial Intermediate Division
Donegal Celtic 0-1 Belfast Celtic
BRENDAN Glackin's strike midway through the opening half was enough for Belfast Celtic to claim the points and local bragging rights at Donegal Celtic on Saturday.
The Glen Road Heights outfit made the short hop to the Suffolk Road on a gloomy afternoon, but it was a productive one as they ran out worthy winners and probably ought to have been much more comfortable at the final whistle.
DC's cause wasn't helped by Christopher McIlhennon and Ryan McAuley both forced off with head injuries early in the game and this seemed to halt their early momentum as they fell behind soon after and never really looked likely to force an equaliser with their task made tougher late as Kieran Mahon was shown a red card.
The visitors had a host of chances to add to their tally, but were unable to find the net again as the hosts were still in play to the final whistle, yet the chances at the other end were few and far between.
It was the visitors who were the quicker to settle and applied the early pressure, but aside from a Shane McKernan header that lacked any great purchase, they didn't;t trouble Nicholas Mellett.
Instead, it was DC who began to get into a flow and looked a little more likely with McAuley having a good from outside the box, but Paul McLaughlin got down for a fairly comfortable gather.
On 18 minutes, Conor Glenholmes skipped by a couple of challenges and found himself through on goal, but he shot straight at McLaughlin.
The game became a little disjointed with those stoppages due to the injuries to McIlhennon and McAuley and it probably disrupted the flow for the hosts.
It would be compounded on 27 minutes as Emmett Templeton did well to keep the ball in play ops the left of goal and hooked it back into the danger area with Glackin striking from the edge of the box, the effort with enough to beat Mellett despite the home goalkeeper's best efforts.
This would prove to be pivotal not just in terms of the score, but the pattern of the game as Belfast Celtic would begin to carve out some big openings.
One was the result of a slack back-pass from the hosts as Shane McKernan was through one-on-one. He opted to go wide to go around Millet who did well to close the angle, but the cut-back to the advancing Glackin ought to have been finished, but the striker's effort was too high.
McKernan then had a sight of goal on the left, but he missed the target from a very promising position as the visitors had to be content with a 1-0 advantage at the break.
DC made a bright enough start to the second period but this wouldn't last as the visitors soon got back on the front foot and stayed there.
The only surprise is they didn't manage to add to the lead despite creating a host of chances with a four-minute spell seeing as many chances that came and went.
Glackin played substitute Dylan Snodden in immediately after being introduced, but Millett did well to close him down and smother, while Glackin then had a shot that bounced just the wrong side of the post. Glackin would then meet McGonnell's corner, but the powerful header was off target and then Snodden tried his luck from a free-kick, striking low but Mellett got down to turn it around the post.
The chances would keep coming with Shane McKernan nodding into the path of Snodden who was through, but his shot went over the top of the crossbar.
With 79 minutes gone and DC pegged back, they would lose Mahon to that red card for appearing to say something to referee Iain Banks.
Straight after, a corner saw James Lindsay get out for a downward header just yards out that Millett managed to turn over the bar.
The hosts just couldn't get on the front foot but remained just one behind as Anthony McGonnell's low free-kick was saved well and although they did manage to get up the field late, they were unable to trouble McLaughlin as the only threat of a goal late came at the other end with Glackin again denied, but regardless, the points were claimed by the visitors.
DONEGAL CELTIC: N Millett, P MKcPeake (A Philpott 68), K Mahon, S Burns, C McIlhennon (N Dixon 19), J Lindsay, S Morelli, T Skillen, J Mullan (C Ferran 68), C Glenholmes (O Craig 68), R McAuley (C Walsh 23)
BELFAST CELTIC: P McLaughlin, S Hawkins, A McGonnell, S Beatty, S Tully, PJ Nesbitt, D Taggart, E Templeton, D Murray (D Snodden 54), B Glackin, S McKernan (E Kelly 73)
Goal: B Glackin 27
REFEREE: Iain Banks