Football: Coagh United on the brink of drop

�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 24th March 2012 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com 
Carling Premiership Dungannon Swifts v Glenavon at Stangmore Park.  Matthew Burrows celebrates after he scored Glenavon's first goal against Dungannon
�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 24th March 2012 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com Carling Premiership Dungannon Swifts v Glenavon at Stangmore Park. Matthew Burrows celebrates after he scored Glenavon's first goal against Dungannon

A killer late goal gave Dundela a 3-2 win, Matthew Burrows’ strike two minutes from time breaking United hearts - all but consigning the Hagan Park side to relegation.

It was a bitter blow for Ian Todd’s men, who fought back from two goals down and were pushing for the victory.

With players unavailable, manager Todd started the game at Hagan Park up front. And inside a minute he linked with Jason Gillespie, who showed good feet on the edge of the box before testing Jonathan Sergeant in goal.

Five minutes later Todd had a chance when he got on the end of a Eoghan Quigg cross from the left, but could not direct his volley goalwards.

Having started brightly Coagh then imploded, conceding twice in three minutes.

Firstly, a sweeping move ended with the Duns’ Thomas Murray going down in the box under minimal contact from Shannon Crooks. The referee pointed to the spot and Stephen Gourley slammed the ball low past William Hassan.

Worse was to follow when a free kick from wide on the right was swung into the Coagh box and the unmarked Murray hit it first time on the volley, Hassan no chance.

The Belfast side were winning the midfield tussle but a shellshock Coagh almost pulled a goal back on 21 minutes when defender Karle Steele shot narrowly over from a Stuart Forrest corner.

Minutes later Coagh were back in it after a goalkeeping howler. Josh Rhodich won a free kick 25 yards out and James Ferguson’s curling effort should have been gathered by Sergeant but he somehow let it slip through his fingers into the net.

Ferguson almost pulled Coagh level ten minutes later with a stinging shot from just outside the box, Sergeant making amends with a good save.

The Duns thought they had restored their two-goal advantage in the next attack - James Sofley’s ‘goal’ was adjudged offside. Matthew Kerr then hit a curler from 25 yards that Hassan was relieved to see fly inches over his crossbar.

With the game in the balance at half time, the next goal was going to be crucial.

And the Duns came close to getting it within two minutes of the restart when Murray showed great control to bring down a ball over the top of Coagh defence, Hassan was out sharply to clear the danger.

Quigg was starting to exert more influence on the game and it was a foul on the winger that led to Coagh’s equaliser on the hour mark.

Again Sargeant was at fault. Perhaps anticipating a cross, he got his positioning all wrong allowing Forrest to beat him at his near post with a low free kick from wide on the left.

The goal was no more than Coagh deserved and they almost went in front on 72 minutes when Rhodich drilled a ball across the face of goal and Todd was inches away from applying the finishing touch.

Coagh were on top, but the Duns were far from a spent force and only a great Hassan save denied Kerr a goal.

Into the final stages, with Coagh going all-out for a win to save their season, Dundela delivered the suckerpunch. Burrows timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap and finish low past Hassan.

The visitors celebrated with fans as if they’d won the Champions League, rather than three points in NIFL Championship 2, Coagh left to ponder what might have been.

As the Mid went to press, Coagh were taking on Sport and Leisure Swifts in a Tuesday kick-off. Todd’s men go to Tobermore on Saturday in their penultimate game, 3pm.

Coagh United team: W Hassan, S Crooks, J Ferguson, A Canning, K Steele, J Young, J Rhodich, S Forrest, E Quigg, I Todd, J Gillespie. Subs; J ferry, S McGeown, M Taylor, S Taylor, S Glasgow