Gillespie hat-trick leaves Coagh top

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Coagh 4 Queen’s 0

QUEEN’S came to Hagan Park to try and topple the Kings of the Championship 2. A hat-trick from Jason Gillespie and a James Ferguson goal was more than enough to keep Coagh at the top of Championship 2.

Other results also went Coagh’s way on Saturday and they have, for the moment, opened up a slender two point gap at the top.

While it’s great to be at the top, Coagh will not be getting carried away; both Annagh and Lurgan Celtic have three matches in hand to the Hagan Park side which would leave either club with a three point advantage. However, all three clubs still have to play each other and as it stands at the minute any one of the top seven clubs could still clinch the Championship.

Coagh’s management said, “While it’s great to be at the top at the half way stage we will be keeping our feet firmly on the ground, every match for us is a big match and we will be treating everyone of them with respect. Our squad is young and a lot of them have never played at this level before so it’s a learning curve for us all.”

This top of the table clash lived up to its billing from the start with both keepers making early saves. Michael Hingeton in nets for Queens for the suspended Gerald Duff came into action as early as the first minute saving from James Ferguson and moments later the Queens keeper did well with a double stop from Park and Clarke before the play shifted to the other end.

Coagh’s Johnny Yorke had just saved well from Aaron Keenan but it was Yorke’s next save that had the crowd on their feet. Queen’s James Lavery twisted and turned in the box before unleashing his shot but Yorke reacted with a one handed save turning the ball over for a corner.

From the corner Queen’s Matt McManus headed just over. The visitors came close again on 29 minutes, James Lavery broke clear of the Coagh back line but again the alert Johnny Yorke came out quickly to save at the player’s feet. The deadlock was broken on 31 minutes; Aaron Thornton started the move with a long drive to Steven Park, he kept Scott McGeown on the run to cross for Clarke who back healed to James Ferguson for the opener.

Queen’s then stormed the Coagh goal from the restart, forcing two more corners, the first was cleared by Calderwood but it took a combination of Keeper and defenders to clear the Queens pressure from the second.

Six minutes later Coagh were two up after Steven Park was bundled over in the box. Coagh’s Dallas and Donaldson combined to get Park clear but as he ran through he was fouled in the area. Jason Gillespie converted his first from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way to give the home side the half time lead.

As expected the visitors came out looking to close the gap but Coagh midfield were having none of it and took control with a series of passes which finished with Steven Park’s shot being cleared off the line.

Queen’s came back and again forced Johnny Yorke into two more saves before the menacing Glenn Clarke and Scott McGeown put the match out of reach. More good football came out of Coagh’s engine room and quick passing between Clarke and McGeown allowed Gillespie to go through to score from the tightest of angles. On 66 minutes Jason Gillespie crowned both his and his team’s performance with a glancing header for his hat trick.

Johnny Black replaced Glenn Clarke while Marcus Dallas and James Ferguson made way for Mark Scott and Mark Taylor. All three combined but Black saw his effort just go narrowly wide. On 90+1 Queen’s Conner Mulholland hit the upright as the match faded out.

This Saturday Coagh play Banbridge Rangers at home in the Irish Cup. Please note the earlier kick off 1-30pm.

Coagh Swifts travel to play Newry Res this Saturday in the Reserve Championship

Coagh: Johnny Yorke, Scott McGeown, James Ferguson, David Calderwood, Barry Anderson, Steven Park, Colin Donaldson, Aaron Thornton, Jason Gillespie, (Johnny Black) Glenn Clarke, Marcus Dallas,(Mark Taylor) Mark Scott, Graham McKenzie, GK

Queen’s: 1 Michel Hingeton, 2 Robbie Budden, 3 David Tumilty, 4 Stuart Harper, 5 Matt McManus, 6 Michael Allison, 7 Aaron Keenan, 8 Paul McDonald, 9 James Lavery, 10 Connor Mulholland, 11 Toby Tumilty, 12 Steven Quinn,13 Ronan Donnelly, 14 Ryan Murphy, 15 Conor Simpson, 16 Peter Mattett.

Referee; Tim Marshall ,Referee Assistant - David Anderson, Referee Assistant -Rodney Henry.