Sloan’s strike puts an end to 18th’s goal drought

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Eighteenth Newtownabbey’s run of six successive defeats is over after Saturdays well-deserved point away to promotion-chasing Donard Hospital, who ended the game with only nine men.

Perhaps even more pleasing for the Monkstown side is that their goal famine, lasting more than two months, also came to an end. It was defender Gary Sloan who produced the ‘Midas touch’, giving 18th a 20th-minute lead. It was 18th’s first goal for almost nine and half hours of play.

They held that advantage until Donard scrambled an equaliser 14 minutes from time and Michael Jamison’s men could have pinched all three points with Gary Kelly and Kenny Hawthorn going close, after Hospital had two men sent off.

“We could have had all three but after our run of defeats, I would have gladly taken a point before the match,” said Jamison. “I think Donard were just over-confident after winning 5-1 at our place, but everyone of our boys really battled and showed a bit of fight.”

Strikes by Matty King and Chris Bell earned Grange Rangers their second Amateur League Division 2B win of the season, boosting their hopes of climbing out of the relegation zone.

Civil Service recovered from King’s early reverse to level the scores, but ten minutes from time Bell hit the winner at Foundry Lane.

Manager Stephen King was delighted with the character shown by his charges. “It was by no means our most polished performance of the season, but the boys impressed by grinding out a result in this important match,” he said.

Grange remain bottom of 2B, but with several games in hand.