Football: Coagh earn three vital points against Wakehurst

Coagh Utd's Aaron Kenning breaks up a Wakehurst attack during Saturday's league clash at Hagan Park.INMM1516-372
Coagh Utd's Aaron Kenning breaks up a Wakehurst attack during Saturday's league clash at Hagan Park.INMM1516-372
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A solitary Daniel McKinless goal was enough to give Coagh United all three points against fellow strugglers Wakehurst.

It was a vital win for Ian Todd’s men and, with four games remaining, it gives Coagh a little glimmer of hope in their bid to avoid relegation from Championship 2.

It was the visitors who threatened first at Hagan Park when Conor Gregg blazed over the bar from a first minute free-kick.

Coagh threatened a minute later when Josh Rhodich dug out a good cross under pressure to find Eoghan Quigg in the box, but his shot was diverted wide. From the resultant corner Rhodich had a chance but his header was straight at Ryan Armstrong in the Wakehurst goal.

The home side thought they’d gone in front three minutes later when Rhodich ran free down the right and his inch-perfect cross was met by Daniel McKinless but his header back across goal went agonisingly wide.

William Hassan in the Coagh goal was rarely troubled, but the visitors did threaten on the half-hour mark when Gregg took a tumble in the box under pressure from Shannon Crooks, although he perhaps went down too easily and the referee ignored his penalty claims.

The home side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and were starting to look dangerous. Rhodich had a decent attempt on 31 minutes, cutting inside and driving a left footer just past Armstrong’s post, before a corner kick found Jason Gillespie at the back post only for the big striker to head wide from three yards out.

It should have been the first goal, but less than a minute later Coagh did take the lead. McKinless latched on to a ball over the top and showed good pace to run clear of the defence before slotting the ball under the diving Armstrong from a tight angle.

From the restart Wakehurst created their best chance of the game, but Andrew Loughlin’s header was well saved by Hassan. Coagh finished the half on top, with good deliveries into the box - first from the left with Rhodich heading over, and then from the right, with Gillespie warming Armstrong’s hands.

However, Ian Todd’s team lost the impetus at half time and were forced to weather an early storm as Wakehurst, who languish at the bottom of the table, attempted to get back in the match.

Conor Ross fired over on 50 minutes then Karle Steele was forced into a last-ditch tackle, taking the ball off the toe of Peter Adams as he looked certain to score.

Minutes later Gregg found way too much time in the box but blasted straight at Hassan and the same player then scuffed the ball wide from 12 yards out.Coagh were in danger of losing their slender advantage and when Ross beat two players with ease he flashed the ball across the six yard box Kurtis McCartney saw his flick go inches wide.

Despite losing the territorial battle Coagh looked dangerous on the break and should really have doubled their lead on 78 minutes.

A swift counter-attack involving Quigg and Crooks ended with the later crossing. Both Gillespie and Rhodich were free at the back post but got in each other’s way and Rhodich headed over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Coagh have another huge match this Saturday against Dundela. Kick-off at Hagan Park is 2.30pm.

Coagh team: W Hassan, S Crooks, J Ferguson, S Glasgow, K Steele, A Canning, S Forest, J Rhodich, E Quigg, J Gillespie, D McKinless. Subs: J Ferry, S McGeown, M Taylor, I Todd