A year to remember for Coagh United
COAGH United secured the Belfast Telegraph Championship 2 title win a final day victory over Ballyclare to secure the title and promotion. The Mid Ulster Mail have pinpointed a number of crucial games that shaped the Hagan Park sides season.
Moyola Park 1 Coagh United 4 - 6th August
The season got underway with a thumping victory at Mill Meadow. United managers Uprichard and Mitchell had over seen a transformation in personnel over the summer. The season got off to the worst possible start. Experienced campaigner David Calderwood bundled home at the wrong end to hand Moyola the lead.
However, former Mill Meadow man Aaron Campbell hammered home from the spot. A late flurry of goals in the last ten minutes secured all three points. Campbell, McGarvey and Johnny Black all converted to secure all three points.
Coagh United 2 Annagh United 2 - 12th August
In their first home game of the season United had to settle for a share of the spoils. A tempestuous affair which saw both sides pick up plenty of bookings was settled by a James Ferguson free kick deep into injury time. Former Coagh duo Scott McCordick and Dean Smith had provided the away side with the lead. Steven Hawe had opened the scoring with sublime free kick but was dismissed only minutes later.
Dundela 3 Coagh United 4 - 3rd September
This was a victory that made the rest of the league sit up and take notice. Wilgar Park is a difficult place to get a result in with its narrow pitch and slanting surface. Lamont and Park gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at the break. Colin Donaldson and Lamont sealed all three points as Coagh secured the win.
Coagh United 2 Armagh City 3 - 8th October
Despite being defeated by 3-2 after a stoppage time winner from Adam Nesbitt, Coagh won all three points. It was found out that Armagh had fielded an ineligible player and Coagh were given a 3-0 win.
Coagh United 2 Portstewart 4 - 10th November
Signs of complacency began to appear in early November. The Seasiders punished some poor Coagh defending to seal an impressive away win. After the game joint-managers Mitchell and Uprichard blasted their side for schoolboy defending.
Despite the setback Coagh managed to go on a three match winning streak ahead of a massive derby fixture against Killymoon at Hagan Park on New Years Eve.
Coagh United 2 Killymoon Rangers 0 - 31st December
A large crowd descended upon Hagan Park for the traditional derby fixture. Killymoon frustrated the home side and the scores were level at half time. However, Coagh stepped up to the challenge in the second half when Jason Gillespie nodded home from a McGeown cross and with seconds left on the clock Johnny Black beat the offside trap to fire home.
Coagh United 2 Knockbreda 2 - 21st January
The home side raced into a 2-0 lead at Hagan Park. Tricky winger Mark Scott grabbed the first while Jason Gillespie added a second from the spot. The booming voice of Knockbreda boss Hugh Sinclair echoed around Hagan Park at half time and whatever he said certainly did the trick. Knockbreda clawed back two goals including a spot kick from keeper Paul Mateer to secure a point.
Coagh United 5 Moyola Park 1 - 10th March
Derby victories are always the sweetest. Coagh recovered from a 4-0 defeat to Linfield the week before to put on a five star performance at Hagan Park. A double from Glen Clarke saw them on the way to a 5-1 win.
Annagh United 2 Coagh United 1 - 24 March
The wheels started to come off the Coagh promotion bandwagon following a narrow defeat in Annagh. The defeat came at a huge cost too. Jason Gillespie picked up a bad head injury and the squad was stretched to its very limits.
Killymoon Rangers 3 Coagh United 0 - 31st March
The Coagh promotion bid was hanging by a single thread after a horror show at the Sports Arena. Goals from Ferry, Smith and a screamer from Gari Crooks left Coagh demoralised.
The reaction to the derby day defeat was crucial. Managers Stephen Uprichard and Noel Mitchell led the Hagan Park side to two impressive away wins. A stunning 3-2 win at Queens and a smash and grab raid at Knockbreda left Coagh with six points.
Coagh United 3 Dundela 3 - 14th April
Victory over Dundela would have left the East Belfast side out of contention. It was one of the most exhilarating ties in recent years at Hagan Park. Dundela raced into a two goal leas after two defensive blunders. However, Coagh came out for the second half a changed side. Aaron Campbell slammed home and Johnny Black gave them the lead. However, with seconds left Dundela raced up the other end and Wright fired home.
Coagh United 2 Lurgan Celtic 3 - 24th April
All Coagh needed was a win over Lurgan Celtic to secure promotion. Impressive wins over Chimney Corner and the PSNI had left Coagh sitting top of the table. However, the Coagh support left the ground that night shaking their heads in disbelief.
Despite a late Jason Gillespie goal, Lurgan Celtic claimed all three points with a truly astonishing goal. A swift counter down the right and a cross was whipped in. Calderwood nodded clear only to see a booming volley rocket past him into the bottom corner.
Ballyclare Comrades 1 Coagh United 3 - 28th April
All that was needed to secure promotion was victory. The top two changed frequently on an action packed afternoon in the Championship 2. Coagh trailed early on but Jason Gillespie eased any nerves with a well taken goal. With only seconds to go before the half time whistle James Ferguson slotted home to give Coagh the lead.
The next forty five minutes were certainly not for the faint hearted. However, with only two minutes left on the clock Mark Scott netted to hand Coagh the title and promotion to the Championship 1.