Lurgan Celtic suffered their first league defeat in seven months as they went down 1-0 at Glebe at the weekend.
They were also knocked off top spot by Limavady United, but there is no need for panic just yet as the Hoops have four games in hand over the new leaders.
Celtic started the game on the offensive exerting early pressure and Niall Lavery found namesake Chris but his shot was easily dealt with by keeper Shannon.
Chris Lavery evaded several defenders and slipped the ball to Daniel Ryan who had a shot saved by Shannon while moments later a long ball out of defence by Glebe found McDowell who forced Conor McCorry into a fine save. Ryan was then fouled outside the box and Nial Lavery’s free lead to a frantic scramble in the panic stricken home defence with the ball eventually being cleared. The pressure was still unrelenting from Celtic and a Ryan run down the right resulted in Dale Malone shooting narrowly wide.
On the half hour Raymond Fitzpatrick cut in and shot for Shannon to save and a minute later McDowell shot well over in a Glebe break.The home side came close when Kennaway made a break through the Hoops defence but the alert McCorry advanced quickly to save at his feet.
Just before half time Ryan was brought down in the box by Nicholl and a penalty was awarded, but rather than any of the two designated penalty takers stepping up Ryan elected to take the spot kick himself and his effort hit the base of the post and was scrambled away. Right on the half time whistle Chris Lavery saw a good shot go narrowly over the bar and it was a relieved home side who went in for the half time break happy to see the game remain scoreless.
Celtic resumed the second period but looked very lethargic and on 48 minutes went behind after Glebe broke down the left and Grace drilled a fine shot beating McCorry low at his right hand post.
On the hour mark Chris Lavery had the Hoops best effort with a shot that forced a fine save out of Shannon and a shock result was looking likely as the Hoops stared looking even more lethargic as the time passed. The Hoops had a let off when a Glebe player was upended in the box but Kennaway hit the spot kick against the bar and Celtic’s defenders cleared the ball away.
Just past the hour mark manager Colin Malone decided to ignite a lack lustre Hoops with a triple substitution ofJason and Aaron Rogers and Haire. This had an immediate effect with Haire giving the home defence an uncomfortable final 15 minutes and A Rogers showed good composure in his first team debut linking up well down the left side with Lavery but the breakthrough wasn’t to be as Celtic kept up the pressure on the home defence but couldn’t get that elusive break the required.
This Saturday Celtic are at home to Wakehurst.
Celtic’s McLeans Man of the Match was awarded to Jonny McCarron with apart from keeper McCorry no other player standing out from the pack.
Celtic’s youth side were presented with their trophies on Saturday by Jim Canning and Tony Cochrane from the Mid-Ulster Juvenile League with captain Aaron Rogers lifting the cup.