Promotion bid grows as Hoops go third

Lurgan Celtic's Josh Barton gets muscled off the ball by this Bangor FC player. INLM12-637AM
Lurgan Celtic's Josh Barton gets muscled off the ball by this Bangor FC player. INLM12-637AM

Lurgan Celtic pushed themselves towards a play-off spot with another superb result.

A 2-1 win over Bangor sees the Hoops move into third place, just three points off second placed H&W Welders.

Celtic started without captain Raymond Fitzpatrick and vice-captain McVeigh through suspension so experienced defender Adam Rodgers was handed the armband.

The game started brightly with Aaron Haire causing the Bangor defence problems with his height and strength and he created Celtic’s first opportunity when his pass found Dale Malone and his shot just shaded the far post.

The opening 15 minutes were end to end as both teams created chances but it was the visitors who opened the scoring when a great cross into the box was met by the head of Paul McDowell who was unmarked and his effort beat McCorry in the Celtic net.

Two minutes later Shea Conaty thought he had leveled when he sneaked in at the back post to meet a cross only for the keeper to pull off a wonderful point blank save. On 25 minutes Celtic’s task became harder when John Cochrane left the field with an injury to be replaced by Ciaran Seeley. With five minutes left to the break Celtic got an equaliser when Brendan Shannon supplied a wonderful crossfield pass to Josh Barton who rifled home to continue his goal scoring run against Bangor having scored in the previous two meetings.

Celtic started slowly in the second half and Bangor dominated for a 10-15 minute period but failed to break down the defence with Seeley slotting into his role with comfort. The storm was weathered and Celtic began to get a foothold in the game with Ronan O’Hara doing excellent work in midfield and Haire continuing to be a menace up front. On 70 minutes Shannon sent in another wonderful cross to Haire who shielded the ball and was appeared to be hauled to the ground by the defender but no whistle, however the ball broke to sub Sean Devlin who drilled the ball past the keeper. Celtic had two penalty claims turned down before Bangor took control in search of an equaliser. The home side seemed to sit back and soak up any pressure with the back four coping well with any threat. Bangor did have the ball in the net twice in the final 10 minutes but one was called up for offside and the other for a shove on keeper McCorry. The final whistle was greeted with relief as Celtic moved up to third with a game in hand.

Best on the day were full backs Adam Rodgers and Ciaran Seeley, but the McLeans Bookmakers man of the match went to Ronan O’Hara.