Nervy Coagh feeling the heat of promotion battle after defeat at Annagh

HOLDS... Coagh's Jason Gillespie holds up the ball for yet another attack during last Saturday's league clash with Ballyclare Comrades.mm47-359sr Picture : SIMON ROBINSON.
HOLDS... Coagh's Jason Gillespie holds up the ball for yet another attack during last Saturday's league clash with Ballyclare Comrades.mm47-359sr Picture : SIMON ROBINSON.

Annagh United 2

Coagh United 1

ARE the wheels starting to come off the Coagh promotion bandwagon? The Hagan Park outfit lost their first game in the league since November and after all of the chasing pack recorded wins on Saturday, the title race is wide open. Out of six possible points last week United claimed only one.

Knockbreda knocked Coagh off their perch with a solid 3-1 win over Sports and Leisure while Dundela, just a point behind, drop in just behind Coagh. Ballyclare, Queens and Annagh make up the top six but they have a lot to do being five, six and eight points behind the top three.

The pressure is really on Coagh, who now have a number of crucial games ahead of them. They start the title run in with a derby tie against Killymoon at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena on Saturday.

United are then on their travels as they head to the Dub to face Queens, then away to Knockbreda before returning home to face East Belfast outfit Dundela. There are eight games remaining in the league campaign but the outcome of these four crucial games will determine whether or not Coagh will be playing Championship One football next season.

A disappointing defeat at Annagh got even worse with the news Jason Gillespie had to have twelve stitches in a head wound he received in the second half which was completely missed by the officials. This will now probably rule the Hagan Parks leading goal scorer out for the rest of the season.

Annagh wanted this game more and piled on pressure from the start. The home side style of play suited the bumpy surface while Coagh never got started. The first goal came after twenty minutes; ex Coagh player Jaime Gardiner picked the ball up after Dallas lost possession in the middle of the park. Marshalled by two Coagh defenders the forward got his shot in, Yorke parried the shot but the bounce of the surface repelled the ball back toward goal. Ferguson made a bold attempt to clear but Gardiner got the final touch and the home side were ahead.

Coagh pushed from the restart but continually lost their rhythm in the final third. Near the end of the half Ferguson saved Coagh’s blushes, clearing off the line from McCann.

Johnny Yorke saved from Gardiner at the start of the second half as the home side pushed for a second but Coagh pushed hard and were awarded a penalty twelve minutes into the half. Gillespie gave Wright no chance from the spot.

Coagh continued with the pressure but just could not get the final touch. On the hour a simple cross from Smith on the left found Gardiner, the forward side stepped the Coagh defence to score the winner.

Coagh brought on Hunter and Black but lost Gillespie with a head wound. Mark Scott replaced the injured player. Now on the back foot Annagh pressed on and only for four excellent saves from Johnny Yorke the score line would have been more. Coagh will dust themselves down before taking on Killymoon on Saturday. The local derby always draws the crowd of the season; kick off at MUSA is 3pm.

Annagh; Andy Wright,(Y) Chris Coleman,(Y) Nathan Riddle,(Y) Alan Murphy, Gerald McAlea, (Y) Fran McCann, Jamie Uprichard, Kenny Camlin, Jamie Gardiner, Dean Smith, Mark Boyce,(Y) Raymond Hamilton, Eugene McCann, Neil Smith.

Coagh; Johnny Yorke, Scott McGeown, Aaron Thornton, David Calderwood, James Ferguson, Colin Donaldson, Aaron Campbell, Marcus Dallas, (Lee Hunter) (Y) Jason Gillespie (Mark Scott) Dale Noble (Johnny Black) Aaron Campbell, Stephen Glasgow, Barry Anderson.

Referee Mr A Black, Mr D Anderson, Mr L Ormsby.