Sub Irwin lands Nortel’s winner against Dromara

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Nortel stay just behind Premier Division leaders Malachians on goal difference with two games in hand after last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over bottom club Dromara Village.

Nortel assistant-manager John McMinn quipped: “It should have been 22! We missed an absolute bucket load of chances. Dromara are a much-changed side; a very young team and fair play to them, they stuck to their task well. For us, it was looking like one of those days. However our boys showed their character and kept going and got there in the end for three very welcome points!”

Dromara couldn’t have argued had Nortel been five or six ahead at the break, but instead it was the Villagers who showed the standard with the only goal of the half when a loose clearance fell nicely for a forward who gave keeper Matthew Whittley no chance.

The second session seemed to be following the same template and there were groans of disquiet amongst the hardened few when an Andrew Simpson header beat the keeper only to smack off the upright.

But Nortel got there in the end, and what a time for midfielder Michael Herron to grab his first goal of the season with a header into the top corner from 15 yards.

A wave of relief reverberated around the Factory Grounds and just minutes later the home side were celebrating again when substitute Adam Irwin nodded the ball over the keeper for what turned out to be the winner.

On Saturday it’s a tricky trip to the Showgrounds to meet Killyleagh YC.

Nortel: Whittley – D Anderson, Thompson, Cardwell, Freyne – J Clarke (Cowan), Craig, Herron (Caughey), Conlin – Simpson, Fenner (Irwin).

Elsewhere in the Premier Division Islandmagee were beaten 3-0 at home by Drumaness Mills.

The result means third-bottom Islanders now sit just one point and one spot above Dunmurry Rec who they travel to this weekend in what could prove to be a pivotal match.

Crucially, Stephen Donald’s men have two games in hand over Rec, but they will be aiming to take something from Saturday’s clash at Ashley Park.