Lurgan Celtic booked their place in the next round of the Irish Cup with a super win over Bangor at Knockramer Park on Saturday.
Celtic started the brightest and on 7 minutes Josh Barton broke through the Bangor defence after a great pass from Adam Rodgers but the Bangor keeper saved the shot with his feet.
It was Barton who opened the scoring on 16 minutes after being put through with a good pass this time from Raymond Fitzpatrick. It appeared he had taken the ball too narrow but he unleashed a shot hard and low into the corner to give the Hoops the lead.
This goal seemed to waken Bangor and within three minutes of Celtic scoring they had two wonderful opportunities to equalise. On both occasions Celtic’s keeper Conor McCorry made vital saves when facing the strikers.
This was to be the case for the remainder of the half as McCorry, with assured and confident keeping, pulled off a string of impressive saves when a goal looked certain.
Bangor came out in the second half and immediately took control with Celtic defending strongly.
On 50 minutes a wonderful free kick from Bangor’s McDowell crashed off the crossbar then the post but was cleared by the thankful defence, a lucky escape for the Hoops.
Although Bangor only had to wait a further five minutes for their goal. A quick throw in and Celtic failed to close the attacker down and his shot deflected into the net past the grounded McCorry.
Celtic were under severe pressure for the next 10 minutes as Bangor pushed for a winner taking control of the game.
Celtic weathered the storm and came more into the game and on 70 minutes regained the lead from Aaron Haire. Josh Barton sent in a corner and after a scramble the ball was cleared off the line, it fell to Haire and he made no mistake firing an unstoppable shot through the crowded penalty area.
A tiring Shane McCabe was replaced by recent signing Sean Devlin in the Hoops midfield and he almost scored on his debut when his shot whistled past the post.
Indeed Devlin’s running and tackling was impressive, it seemed to give Celtic the lift they needed to see this game through.
Both sides had chances to score with Haire shooting just wide when the unmarked Devlin may have been a better option and McCorry again making several fine saves.
Bangor pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages but with defensive pairing of Hutchinson and Cochrane, helped out at set pieces by striker Fitzpatrick, dealing with anything Bangor threw at them to see the game out and Celtic into the next round.
Lurgan Celtic will play either Annagh United or Knockbreda, this tie is on 6th Feb ruary and another large crowd is expected.
Although Bangor had he majority of possession and created more chances it was Celtic’s work rate and determination that was the difference in the end.
The McLeans Bookmakers Man of the Match was goalkeeper Conor McCorry and the match ball was sponsored by McLeans bookmakers