Malone snatches unlikely victory

Lurgan Celtic celebrate Dale Malone's goal.
Lurgan Celtic celebrate Dale Malone's goal.

Lurgan Celtic travelled to Suffolk to take on Donegal Celtic on Saturday knowing it would be a difficult task after last weeks cup heroics and DC seeking their first three points in a frustrating season thus far in Championship 1.

Lurgan Celtic started the better and created a host of early chances but with some bad luck and poor finishing failed to capitalize. On 25 minutes Stephen Hutchinson was replaced by Colm Toland, making his debut but as the half wore on DC looked increasingly dangerous and indeed struck the post in one counter attack.

The second half started with DC having more possession and Celtic struggling to find any rhythm with Raymond Fitzpatrick now playing at centre half with Haire and Toland up front. A scrappy battled continued for much of the remainder of the game with DC working hard and both teams cancelling each other out. Midway through the half Shane McCabe went off injured to be replaced by Niall Devlin, also making his debut.

On 73 minutes the game sprung to life when DC won a penalty after keeper McCorry rushed from his line and dived at the feet of the onrushing striker only to upend him and concede the spot kick and receive a yellow card in the process.

The penalty was duly dispatched and it looked like DC were set to pick up their first league win of the season.

But Celtic’s ‘never say die attitude’ come to the fore again. Fitzpatrick was reverted into his striker role, going three at the back, with Sean Devlin replacing Shea Conaty. Celtic started to pass the ball crisper and with more urgency to their game created a number of chances. On 80 minutes a break down the right hand side saw Fitzpatrick square to the inrushing Niall Devlin who poked the ball over the line for the equaliser to the relief of the travelling support. Fitzpatrick had the ball in the net shortly afterwards after a fine finish but was adjudged to be offside by the referees assistant. Celtic now smelt the blood and pushed hard for a winner and it came with two minutes remaining when Malone struck from outside the box after some good work by Haire and Devlin. McLean Bookmakers man of the match was Raymond Fitzpatrick.