Bellurgan United's John Smyth spins away from Dean Gaynor of Ardee Celtic during this morning's clash at Flynn Park. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
NEFL Premier Division
Bellurgan United 1-0 Ardee Celtic
Shane O’Brien scored the only goal as Bellurgan United picked up their first league win of the season at home to Ardee Celtic on Sunday morning.
The winger struck right at the start of the second half, profiting from good play down the left which saw Seán Mathews put across a precise delivery from Alan Connor’s fine pass for O’Brien to knock to the net.
A scoreless first half produced plenty of opportunities. Shane Hickey, Gareth Kane and Bryan O’Connor each went close for Ardee, while Bellurgan kept Stuart Reynolds on his toes at the other end.
Bellurgan United manager Colm McConville celebrates with match-winner Shane O'Brien at full-time. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
However, the affair took a turn when the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Kane was red carded for dissent shortly before the interval.
And things got worse for the Deesiders when they conceded within seconds of the restart.
But John Flanagan’s men maintained their charge and went close to levelling through Darryn Gaynor and substitute John Gallagher, who had an evident impact upon his introduction.
Ardee Celtic's Robbie Reynolds and Saheed Ogunforuwa of Bellurgan United. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Still, Reynolds was required to ensure Ardee remained in the contest, although they were dealt another significant blow with 12 minutes to go as Lorcan Myles received a red card for being deemed as fouling as the last man.
A contest which ebbed and flowed saw Bellurgan hold on, despite some late pressure, to pick up a vital three points.
Bellurgan United: Robert Arthur; Mark Murphy, Alan Connor, Owen Traynor, Seán Mathews; Shane O’Brien, Stephen Finnegan, Simon O’Shaughnessy, Saheed Ogunforuwa; John Smyth, Tadhg O’Connor
Subs: Declan Sharkey, Patrick Lynch, Chris Lawson, Dermot Treanor, Cian McDonald, Leonard Grey
Ardee Celtic: Stuart Reynolds; Robbie Reynolds, Niall Sharkey, Ken Thornton, Lorcan Myles; Dean Gaynor, Aaron Roche, Gareth Kane; Shane Hickey, Darryn Gaynor, Bryan O’Connor
Subs: John Gallagher, Shawni Dowdall, Tristan Knowles