It may have been an ‘intermediate interlude’ for most, yet Saturday’s real match of the day was in the league where Wellington Rec maintained their unbeaten record in 1A, coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to see off Sirocco Works at Brookvale Park.
Wellington manager Stephen Donald agreed: “Our boys never know when to give up, but 100%, we’re riding our luck. We can’t expect to keep coming back from two goals down.
“Sirocco were two up at half-time, they played us off the park in the first half but it was their discipline that cost them.”
Michael Moore set Rec on the road to recovery with an early second-session strike, only for Sirocco to duly restore their two-goal cushion.
Back though came Wellington, with Scott Todd scoring from the spot after Andy Waide was felled in the box – a double blow for the visitors as they had a player dismissed for being impolite to the referee.
Yet Sirocco seemed to be hanging on, until Andy Phillips fired Rec level on 86 minutes. Wellington now really had the boot on the right foot, grabbing the winner in stoppage time thanks to another Todd penalty; Sirocco ending the game with only nine men.
Elsewhere in Division 1B, Rathfern Rangers went down 7-1 to Ballynahinch Olympic at the Diamond.
In the first round of the Intermediate Cup, Barn United - with only one win in eight in the league - made it five cup victories in eight, thanks to a 4-0 home success over Grove United. Andy Kane (two), Allen McCune and substitute John Mathers got the goals.
Also through are Nortel, although their 3-1 success over 1B side Rosario YC wasn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds.
Former Carrick Rangers player Neil Corr gave Rosario an early lead – which they held until Phil McCann’s 55th-minute leveller.
And the tie looked to be heading for extra time until Elliott McKimm edged Nortel in front on 86 minutes; substitute Mark Wilkinson making doubly sure four minutes into injury-time.
Also safely through are Mossley, 3-1 winners away to AFC Craigavon. whom they meet every year in a pre season friendly.
The main talking point in this one were the two second-half goals from striker Ross Miskimmin, his first since 15th August. Lee Graham had earlier set Mossley on the right footing.
Islandmagee’s woes continued as they were hammered 5-0 at Desertmarin. Dave Gibson, Andy Kelso, Mark Shields, Steven Kenning and Matthew Kempton scored for the hosts.
Grange Rangers moved third in the Amateur League’s Division 2C table after a nervy 5-3 victory in Donaghadee.
Grange were 5-0 up after 37 minutes thanks to goals from Phil Gregg (three), Robert McFall and an own goal. But the County Down side rallied to pull back three goals.
Rangers manager Stephen King said: “It was a nail-biting finish after we surrendered control in the second half and at the end I was delighted when we held on to come away with an important three points.”
Elsewhere in 2C, Whitehead Eagles lost 3-2 to Lower Shankill and 4th Newtownabbey lost 4-0 at home to Suffolk Swifts.
Greenisland FC made sure of their progress in the Clarence Cup with a 3-2 win away to Queen’s Grads.
On target for the Glenkeen Avenue outfit were Shaun Richards, Gary Dodds and David Tumilty.