Irish Premiership: Ballymena suffer major blow to title bid with Warrenpoint defeat

Warrenpoint stun Ballymena with comeback win

Ballymena United's Premiership title bid suffered a major blow as they lost 2-1 at home to Warrenpoint Town.

Goals from Philip Donnelly and Hernany Marques saw Point secure a comeback victory after Adam Lecky had given the Sky Blues the lead.

Holders Crusaders came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 away to second-from-bottom Ards.

Aaron Jarvis hit a late winner as Institute beat Coleraine 1-0 and Newry lost by the same scoreline to Glenavon.

Re-live all the action from a busy day of Premiership action as it happened

Point hit Sky Blues on the rebound

Lecky gave Ballymena the lead with a good turn and finish
Lecky gave Ballymena the lead with a good turn and finish

The Sky Blues' home defeat leaves them nine points behind leaders Linfield in the league table with five games left to play going into the split.

David Jeffrey's men started the game well and had struck the post through Steven McCullough before Lecky put them ahead in the 16th minute.

It was a good pass inside from Winchester and Lecky controlled it well before turning and firing a low drive into the bottom corner.

The home side looked in control but Point grew into the match and equalised in the 37th minute when Philip Donnelly reacted well to poke home after two shots had been blocked.

Ryan Mayse drilled just over the crossbar on the volley early in the second half as Ballymena looked to restore their lead, but it was the visitors who grabbed the three points with a winner nine minutes from time.

A Lee Duffy free-kick was saved by Ross Glendinning but Brazilian defender Marques was on hand to score the rebound.

Ballymena's next outing is at home to Linfield, who hammered Dungannon Swifts 5-0 at Stangmore Park on Friday night.

Ards denied vital win by Crues comeback

At Clandeboye Park in Bangor, Ards came within seven minutes of securing what would have been a precious victory in their battle to avoid automatic relegation.

Both sides had created good opportunities before Mark Kelly gave the home side the lead in the 24th minute.

The ball was delivered from the right wing and Kelly beat Sean O'Neill with a deflected shot after a scramble in the box.

Former Crues full-back Craig McClean doubled the lead for Warren Feeney's men when he curled in directly from a free-kick on 53 minutes.

Caddell pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 68th minute when he stooped to head home after Jordan Owens had flicked on a long ball into the area.

A superb Ronan Hale volley seven minutes from time equalised for Stephen Baxter's outfit and denied Ards a second victory in four games under Feeney.

Stute strike late to beat toothless Coleraine

Institute
Institute were by far the brighter side in the day's early kick-off

In Saturday's early kick-off, the hosts looked brighter throughout, with Paul Smith denied three times.

Bannsiders keeper Chris Johns had been kept busy throughout while the visitors could only register one shot on target in the 90 minutes.

The result moves Stute above Dungannon Swifts into eighth place.

The game looked to be heading towards a scoreless draw after Johns had produced a fine save from Smith's deflected free-kick to keep the scores level.

However Ronan Wilson danced through the Coleraine midfield before squaring to Jarvis to roll into an empty net to bring Institute's three-game losing streak to an end.

Coleraine will need to produce a vastly improved display in their Irish Cup semi-final against Crusaders next week if they are to stand any chance of retaining the trophy they won last season.

Another defeat for basement boys

Andrew Mitchell's second-half header condemned bottom side Newry City to a 12th defeat in 13 league games as Glenavon won Saturday evening's encounter at the Showgrounds.

Mitchell brings up century as Glenavon sink Newry

The visitors dominated the first half but found Newry City keeper Andy Coleman in top form as he made a string of fine saves.

They included tipping Mitchell's shot onto the crossbar and denying Conor McCloskey as he raced clear on goal.

Eoin Wearan did find the Newry net before the break but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Tiernan Rushe went close for Newry before Mitchell broke the deadlock on 76 minutes as he connected with a Stephen Murray cross.

Declan Carville wasted an injury-time chance to equalise as he went through with only Jonathan Tuffey to beat, but the the Glenavon keeper made the save.

Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday 23 March
Institute1-0Coleraine
Ards2-2Crusaders
Ballymena Utd1-2Warrenpoint Town
Newry City0-1Glenavon

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