It was away day joy in the 4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League as Cockhill Celtic, Fanad United and Finn Harps Reserves all won away from home on Sunday.
Cockhill Celtic moved five points clear at the top of the table with a 3-0 win at Bonagee while Fanad are into second following a 3-2 win over Derry City Reserves and new club Finn Harps Reserves recorded their first win since their return to the USL, defeating Swilly Rovers 3-2 in Ramelton.
Bonagee United 0 . . . . Cockhill Celtic 3
A deadly first half performance saw champions Cockhill Celtic defeat Bonagee United and open up a five-point gap at the top of the 4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League.
Mark Moran, Jason Breslin and Ronan ‘Ollie’ Doherty netted as Gavin Cullen’s side again proved a class apart.
They did all of the damage here in the first half and eased off in a goalless second period.
The resistance was broken in the 29th minute by Moran, who fired in his sixth of the season after Gareth Wade, the Bonagee goalkeeper, saved from Peter Doherty’s header.
The visitors doubled the lead in the ten minutes later as Breslin converted at the back post after connecting to Gerry Gill’s free-kick. With Wade on his goal-line, Breslin made no mistake with a crisp finish.
Breslin’s brother, Gareth, is a member of the Bonagee squad, but was absent from this one as he is in Vienna, where he watched the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier win over Austria last night.
Bonagee weren’t obliging opponents, but Cockhill proved too slick and the ruthless edge in their attack was evident again as they put the Dry Arch men to the sword.
Right on the stroke of half-time, with two minutes played in added-on time, Doherty hammered past Wade from the left-hand edge of the penalty area, powering home in style to make it 3-0.
Doherty’s strike put the game beyond Bonagee’s reach.
The home side hadn’t been without their moments and just before Doherty’s goal Bonagee’s Dean Larkin clipped the crossbar after combining with Aidan McLaughlin on the edge of the box, his wonderful turn-and-shot deserving a goal, but denied by the frame.
Bonagee began brightly and Aidan McCauley saw a ferocious effort deflect wide of Harry Doherty’s net in the second minute after Chris Moran and Noel Doherty combined to create the ope
Cockhill soon warmed to their task and when Moran fired in the opener on the half-hour, there was a feeling of inevitability around it.
A well-worked free by Gerry Gill, down the channel to Moran drew a brilliant save from Wade, while Gill himself shot over from close-range after a dangerous cross by Jimmy Bradley.
Gerard McLaughlin and Doherty went close before Moran broke the deadlock.
Larkin was twice denied by Harry Doherty, the Cockhill ‘keeper, at the outset of the second half, but Cockhill never seemed as if they’d be caught.
Derry City Reserves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Fanad United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Matthew Crossan scored the winner against his former club as Fanad United defeated Derry City Reserves at Templemore.
Arthur Lynch’s Fanad now move above Bonagee and into second spot in the table following this hard-earned win.
Killian Gallagher put Fanad in front in the second minute beating the offside trap to finish past Doherty.
Derry were level on 40 minutes when Adrian Delap finished into the bottom corner after great combination play with Sean McBride down the right wing.
The visitors went ahead for a second time on 43 minutes through Keelin McElwaine but within a minute Derry were back on level terms, Cathal Farren converting an Adrian Delap cross to score his tenth goal of the season.
The winning goal came ten minutes from time. Crossan capitalised on a defensive mistake to beat Dylan Doherty at the second attempt after his initial effort came back off the post.
Derry drop to fourth in the table and are seven points behind leaders Cockhill Celtic.
Swilly Rovers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Finn Harps Reserves . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Aaron McCready struck a late winner as Finn Harps Reserves got their first win since their return to the ranks of the USL. McCready scored twice and Gareth Doherty was also on the mark for Joe Boyle’s team while Damien Friel and Laurence Toland netted for Swilly.