Soccer

Sports Direct Premiership Round-up: Ballymena, Loughgall, and Glenavon secure maximum points

Loughgall players celebrate Saturday's victory over Newry City at the Showgrounds                   PICTURE: Pacemaker
PICTURE: Pacemaker- Promoted ahead of this season, Loughgall have transitioned smoothly into the Premiership.

Sports Direct Premiership Round-up

Ballymena 3-1 Coleraine

Loughgall 2-1 Dungannon Swifts

Newry 0-4 Glenavon

Ballymena and Loughgall made home advantage count, as Glenavon rounded off their Christmas festivities with three points on the road this afternoon.

Benji Magee got Loughgall off to the ideal start against Dungannon, slotting in a Tiernan Kelly ball from close range, defying appeals from a lacklustre Swifts’ defence.

Dungannon responded 22 minutes later however, as Kealan Dillon picked the ball up on the edge of the box after a friendly ricochet. He duly unleashed a venomous strike from range that rippled the top corner and levelled the sides.

Swifts would have been satisfied to go in at the break level, but they turned the screw in the second half. A dominant display failed to reap the rewards as Loughgall dug in, and their resilience was rewarded at the death, as Magee popped up at the death to steal the three points.

In Newry, the basement side were subjected to a heavy defeat at the hands of Glenavon. Danny Wallace was fastest to react to a loose ball bobbling around the box, and he made no mistake as he lashed in his first goal of the season.

Soon it was two, as some intricate play from Peter Campbell allowed Stephen Teggart a sight of goal, and he was just as clinical as Wallace to double the lead.

Teggart then proved provider, teeing up Niall Quinn just after the half hour mark. It stayed that way until the break, but Glenavon weren’t quite finished despite Newry improvement, and Aaron Prendergast nutmegged Stephen Maguire to add gloss to the scoreline.

Elsewhere, Ballymena surprised a sixth placed Coleraine, as an injury time strike made absolutely certain of the three points.

Noah Stewart epitomised a mesmerising second-half, as he scored twice to help United turn the game on its head.

Coleraine started the brighter, as Aaron Jarvis capitalised on a defensive error, but Ballymena rallied, firstly through striker John McMurray.

Stewart then put them in front, before he rounded off the comeback in added time and put United within a win of Dungannon Swifts in the Sports Direct Premiership table.