A 94th minute winner from Jack Parke enabled Derry City Reserves to defeat Ulster Senior League pacesetters Letterkenny Rovers 2-1 today.
With Cockhill Celtic beating Finn Harps Reserves 1-0, it means that the race for the silverware is very much back on.
Letterkenny Rovers and Cockhill Celtic are now locked togther on 24 points each from nine games.
This was Rovers' first defeat of the league campaign today.
All today's match reports are listed below.
Bonagee United 7
Swilly Rovers 0
Garbhan Grant’s hat-trick helped to fire Bonagee United to a comfortable Four Lanterns USL win over Swilly Rovers at Dry Arch Park.
Grant has been in fine form since moving from Letterkenny Rovers in the summer and his treble sealed a routine win to maintain their spot in third.
Micheál Doherty’s double and goals by Darren McFadden and Jamie Lynagh sealed the rout for Jason Gibson’s men.
Swilly found themselves chasing the game here as Bonagee led after just 10 minutes, as Armstrong picked out McFadden with a delightful pass over the top. McFadden’s finish was no less impressive as he picked out the bottom corner.
Just five minutes later, the lead was doubled. McFadden was again at the hub of the move. Having collected a pass in from Doherty, McFadden helped it on to Grant, who had the simple task of applying the finish.
And it was 3-0 to the hosts on the half-hour when Doherty steered in after McFadden showed a neat piece of control in the area following a good passage down the right channel.
In between times, Grant had another attempt deflected wide.
Swilly had their moments, with Marty McDaid just unable to keep a shot on target from the edge of the area.
Bonagee netminder David Tyrell got his wires crossed and offered Aaron Rogan an opening, but his shot was wide of the mark, while McDaid’s downward header from a Shaun Crossan free didn’t trouble Tyrell.
At the other end, Gareth Muldoon twice denied Grant with a pair of fine saves.
Bonagee were without influential former Finn Harps ace Michael Funston, who was performing best man duties at a friend’s wedding yesterday, while a depleted Swilly had just the 12 players in tow.
Muldoon was to the rescue again in the 54th minute as he flung himself full length to turn away a goal-bound McFadden header.
Grant found a way past for his second. Darren McMonagle, just three minutes after coming on, whipped a great ball in from the right, and Grant tucked home in style.
Grant was soon toasting his treble, neatly finishing after Armstrong’s pass across goal.
Lynagh, the home captain, curled a delicious effort across Muldoon from the left side of the area.
Doherty completed the scoring with a delicate chip after a one-two with Armstrong three minutes from the end.
Bonagee United: David Tyrell (Cian Harkin 75); Mark Harkin, Gareth Breslin, Thomas McMonagle; Jamie Lynagh, Ryan Rainey (Codey Brogan 72), Deano Larkin, Jordan Armstrong, Micheál Doherty; Darren McFadden (Darren McMonagle 62), Garbhan Grant (Peter Carr 75).
Swilly Rovers: Gareth Muldoon; Matthew McLaughlin, David Fisher, Shay Durning, Shaun Crossan; Ryan McDaid (Oisin Coyle 58), Tony McNamee (Oisin Coyle 68), Aaron Rogan, Jordan Nugent; Marty McDaid, Ryan Cleer.
Referee: Marty McGarrigle.
Derry City Reserves 2
Letterkenny Rovers 1
Derry City struck in the 94th minute as a late, late Jack Parke goal saw them defeat Letterkenny Rovers 2-1 at the Brandywell on Sunday afternoon on what turned out to be a dramatic afternoon.
City have been impressing many with their performances to date and were the superior side for the first half with the impressive Jack Malone and Evan Tweed in sublime form as City dominated the possession stakes for the opening period.
City will be indebted to goalkeeper Nathan Gartside who saved wonderfully from Declan Sharkey with the first chance of note from either side on 12 minutes when Jonny Bonner played him through on goal.
City though pressed forward in droves and Chris Malseed denied Ronan McKinley with a block from a goal-bound effort while Sean McBride will feel he ought to have done better when breaking the offside trap on a couple of occasions but shot wide.
Finn McClure was proving a handful on the left hand side and a combination of him, Ethan Harkin set up McKinley and his dangerous looking cross was well saved by Rory Kelly as city pressed hard for the opener.
Rovers were limited in chances but they nearly netted the first goal when a mazy run from Jonny Bonner on 37 minutes saw him weave his way through the City defence but he pulled his effort just wide of Gartsides post.
City though did get the crucial advantage their hard work deserved when Malone capitalised on some defensive hesistancy to fire home from just inside the box fired Kelly and could have doubled their advantage on the stroke of halftime but McBride saw a header go just over.
Rovers though were a lot better in the second period and were on the front foot for long periods and Sharkey again shot just wide when well-placed.
It was City who almost doubled their lead but sub Kian McGarvey saw his shot saved by Kelly on 57 minutes while Ryan McConnell had to be alert to block a Dylan Devine effort on 59.
The visitors were anxious to get into the game and did dominate for the vast majority of the remainder of the game and had loud penalty claims dismissed by referee John Coll after Rhys McDermott seemed to have upended Luke Nelis on 66 minutes.
They did draw level on 73 when Bonner did well on the right hand side before converting an audacious lobbed effort over Gartside.
Rovers looked likely to go on and win and will bemoan missed headed chances from Darren McElwaine on 82 and Christy Connaghan on 92 minutes before City snatched the win on 94 minutes when sub Jack Parke was allowed to roam from almost halfway into the box before playing a one-two with fellow sub Caoimhin Porter before his effort found its way past Kelly.
Derry City Reserves: Nathan Gartside, Rhys McDermott, Ethan Harkin, Conor Gormley, Connor O'Doherty, Jack Malone, Dylan Devine, Evan Tweed, Sean McBride, Ronan McKinley, Finn McClure. Subs: Kian McGarvey for McClure (57), Jack Parke for McKinley (74), Ronan Boyce for O'Doherty (78), Caoimhin Porter for Harkin (82).
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Ciaran Kelly, Lee Toland, Ryan McConnell, Conor Tourish, Ryan Lonergan, Kevin McGrath, Christy Connaghan, Declan Sharley, Chris Malseed, Jonny Bonner. Subs: Luke Nelis for Lonergan (47), Darren McElwiane for Sharley (56), BJ Banda for McGrath (79).
Referee: John Coll
Cockhill Celtic 1
Finn Harps Reserves 0
Cockhill started this game at a high tempo and took the lead on three minutes.
Brendan McLaughlin made ground down the left and his pullback was clinically dispatched at the near post by Bart Wesolowski.
Cockhill were rampant early on and had further opportunities to double their lead. On six minutes, pressure on the Harps back line resulted in Wesolowski gaining possession. He released Mark Moran who blazed wide.
On 13 minutes, it was Wesolowski himself who should have added a second, heading a McLaughlin free kick wide.
Harps weathered this early storm and came into the match creating half chances of their own.
Corey McBride had a free kick deflected wide on 21 minutes before they spurned the chance of the half on 26 minutes.
Lee McLaughlin's advanced from right back. His cross evaded everyone but found the onrushing Jamie Browne whose header found the side netting.
The remainder of the half was a scrappy affair punctuated by stoppages and free kicks.
Cockhill started the second half in a similar fashion to the first but didn't get the goal this time. They had a great chance on 49 minutes when Marty Doherty broke through midfield but took an extra touch and the chance was gone.
Harps were dangerous from set pieces and should have equalised on the hour when a Stephen Doherty free kick from the left looked like finding Gabriel Aduaka.
He seemed to take his eye off the ball and missed the header, in the process causing the inrushing Keelin McGill to miss the ball.
The second half was very stop-start with a number of injuries and substitutions. The brightest piece of attacking play came when Wesolowski found Moran with a great touch. Moran advanced through midfield, dummied a defender but blazed wide from a great position.
Cockhill Celtic: Lee McCarron; Conor McNamee, Oisin McColgan, Jason Breslin, Lee McColgan; Marty Doherty, James Bradley, Gerard McLaughlin, Mark Moran; Bart Wesolowski, Brendan McLaughlin.
Finn Harps Reserves: Joe Boyle, Lee McLaughlin, Pat Loughrey, Keelin McGill, Keenan Diver, Corey McBride, Stephen Doherty, Gabriel Aduaka, Ronan Gallagher, Jamie Broene, Jack Doherty.
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Bonagee United 7 Swilly Rovers 0
Derry City Reserves 2 Letterkenny Rovers 1
Cockhill Celtic 1 Finn Harps Reserves 0 (game switched to Cockhill)
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League
Saturday, January 12, 8pm
Bonagee United v Fanad United
Sunday, January 13, 2pm
Swilly Rovers v Derry City Reserves
Letterkenny Rovers v Finn Harps Reserves
4 Lanterns USL P W D L F A GD Pts
Cockhill Celtic 9 8 0 1 26 4 22 24
Letterkenny Rovers 9 8 0 1 23 5 18 24
Bonagee United 8 5 1 2 24 10 14 16
Derry City Reserves 9 3 1 5 9 14 -5 10
Fanad United 9 3 0 6 16 28 -12 9
Finn Harps Reserves 8 1 1 6 13 28 -15 4
Swilly Rovers 8 0 1 7 3 25 -22 1
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