Match details below
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Village United 1 Glencairn Celtic 2
Glencairn Celtic skipper Neil Duggan skilfully curled in a last minute free kick to give his side a hard earned 2-1 come from behind win over Village Utd, a result that means Celtic will take the Premier A title if they get a point or more in their final game against Coachford next Sunday.
The defeat makes it that much harder for Village to take the second automatic promotion slot. Glencairn are now on 42 points, a total that Coachford and Village can each reach if they win all their remaining games. Village have eight left, Coachford five.
Midway through the second half, a Celtic victory looked unlikely. They had fallen behind ten minutes from the end of the first half and a confident Village had chances to make it 2-0 before Glencairn got back into it with an unusual strike from Paul Keenan.
The Glencairn defence, playing up the slope, had an uncomfortable time of it in the first half. Keeper Mark Smith found it hard to adjust and in the 6th minute resorted to an unorthodox, though effective, tactic, pushing the high hopping ball past an incoming Village player before gathering it.
In the 24th minute, Smith made an easy catch from a Richie Burns header and sent his forwards on a raid that ended with Kirill Burkhan crossing for Damien O'Leary whose powerful header went just over. Village themselves broke but Leslie Kepple’s 18 yarder was over the top.
Conan Burns also drove just over Smith’s bar and, in the 31st minute, a powerful 25 yard free kick by Celtic defender Fergal Giltinan was well held by Village keeper Jamie O’Donovan.
The errors though continued in the Celtic defence and contributed to the Village goal in the 35th minute. Giltinan cleared to the touchline when Smith could have gathered and then the defence failed when the excellent Terry Lotty crossed from the right and midfielder Alan O'Brien took full advantage and opened the scoring from close range.
Glencairn came close to pulling it back in the 44th minute. Full back Alan McCarthy picked up a loose ball in midfield and studied the situation before sending a fine pass towards Ian Harrington, reaching him just as he broke through the line, but Harry was denied by a superb intervention from Davy Quirke.
Village began the second half on a high and unsettled Celtic just two minutes in. Richie Burns and Lotty combined in the box and Kevin Dunn crossed. Keeper Smith, under pressure, punched clear but the ball fell to Conan Burns and Smith was relieved to see the volley go wide.
Then a great Village move looked set to produce their second goal, indeed should have done so. Richie Burns and Kepple were involved and Kepple squared the ball cross the goalmouth to the unmarked Conan Burns but, disappointingly, he drove wide of the far post.
In between, there was a moments of danger for the losers when Burkhan broke though on a defensive error but a quick advance by keeper O’Donovan saved the day.
But O’Donovan was undone in the 64th minute. Then Celtic’s Keenan raided down the right wing and hit a powerful cross. And there was an unexpected reward for the Celtic man. The ball flew high across the goal and hit the top of the far post on its way to the net.
Now the game was there for the taking. Glencairn came close to doing so in the 74th minute when Harrington broke between two defenders and let fly but his speeding shot was inches off target.
Village really needed to win this one and they pushed skipper Jones upfront. It nearly paid off. With three minutes to go, he set up Clive Hurley in the box but the shot missed the target.
Celtic had an immediate chance and O'Leary outjumped his marker to reach a Keenan cross but keeper O’Donovan held it well.
A foul on O’Leary, some twenty yards from goal, led to the last minute winner. Village were expecting Giltinan to hammer it, and he was sizing it up. The defence bought the decoy and skipper Duggan took the kick and curled a beauty high into O’Donovan's left hand corner.
Village United: Jamie O’Donovan, Clive Hurley, Kevin Dunn, David Quirke, Conor Jones (captain), Terry Lotty, Eric Burns, Alan O’Brien, Richie Burns, Leslie Kepple and Conan Burns. Subs used: Kieran O'Callaghan for Conan Burns (60th minute), Brian Sheehan for Kepple (77th) and Jinty O'Sullivan for O’Brien (79th, injured).
Glencairn Celtic: mark Smith, Alan McCarthy, Darra Nolan, Kieran Duggan, Fergal Giltinan, Rob Downing, Neil Duggan (captain), Kirill Burkhan, Damien O'Leary, Ian Harrington and Paul Keenan. Subs used: Vadim Gorobets for Burkhan (79th).
Referee: Tony Horgan.