Coagh’s worst start to a season continued on Saturday after Jude Ballard’s injury time screamer netted Loughgall a welcome first league win of the season.
Adding to Coagh’s worries was the loss of Aaron Thornton, head injury after 20 minutes. Stephen Lamont followed Thornton to the changing rooms at the start of the second half, while Steven Park, returning for his first match after a long layoff, was replaced after 70 minutes.
Jamie Tomelty was out of the panel after coming off injured last week. It was all too evident as the match progressed into the second half, that Coagh had too many players on the field performing under power.
Coagh opened the scoring after only three minutes when Loughgall’s keeper Jamie McArdle brought down Stephen Lamont inside the area, striker Jason Gillespie stepped and converted the spot-kick. Coagh continued to pressure and early missed chances would come back to haunt them in the second half.
The visitors missed a fantastic opportunity from the spot to equalise three minutes into the second half but keeper William Hassan in the Coagh goal got down well to turn a Niall Lavery spot kick away. The visitors found a way back into the game on the hour mark, Hassan misjudged Wesley Boyle’s cross and Aaron Haire headed home at the back post.
Head’s up Loughgall got among Coagh’s flagging midfield with Niall Lavery making amends for his penalty miss with a superb 25 yard low shot that crept inside the post.
The visitors’ lead was short-lived as Coagh levelled when Gillespie’s cross from the left flank looked like it was diverted in by Loughgall’s Adam Rodgers as he jostled to win the aerial duel with Tommy Elder but I think Elder will be claiming this goal as his own.
Both sides pushed hard, in a very open second half, for a winner that would see them escape the bottom half of the table substitute Scott McCordick slipped in forward Elder who should have scored for the hosts when well placed on 82 minutes.
As the clock ticked into overtime Coagh’s near misses were punished as substitute Jude Ballard hit a wonderful 25 yard strike that nestled in the top corner out of the reach of keeper Hassan to give Loughgall all the points and leave Coagh with the only team in the League without a point.
This Saturday Coagh have no match after getting a bye in the Bob Radcliffe Cup. On Saturday September 7 Coagh host HW Welders at Hagan Park at 3pm. Coagh Reserves are home to Rathfriland Rangers at 2.15pm while Coagh Youth away to Armagh City.
Coagh United: Hassan, McGeown, Thornton (Anderson 21m), Calderwood, Ferguson, Donaldson, Park (McCordick 74m), Gillespie, Elder, Wallace Lamont (Kempton 49m). Unused subs: Taylor, Young.