GILFORD returned to Woodlands for only their second league match this year.
The management were forced to make some personnel changes due to the absence of first team regulars who were attending John Feeney’s wedding.
In what would turn out to be a dour match Crusaders had all of the early possession without putting the Moira keeper under any great pressure. Conor Magee in particular created many chances, including one that skimmed the crossbar, without converting them into goals.
Gilford finally took a deserved lead in the 38th minute as Ryan McDowell played a fine ball through the middle for Sean ‘Wiggy’ Cunningham to strike it past the goalkeeper.
That was about it for any action in this 45 minutes as half time approached.
After a stern half time talk in which manager Stephen McArdle exhorted his team to play to their strengths and the second half got under way with Gilford looking to build on their lead with more goals.
A substitution was made as early as the 49th minute forcing a reshuffle of the back line with Paddy Finnegan moving out to right back and the newly introduced Mick McAtamney joining captain Kieran McCourt in the centre.
The game took on the same pattern as the first half with chances and half chances going amiss. Co-manager Stuart Adamson replaced a tiring Conor Magee in the 73rd minute, bringing fresh legs to the attack.
A rare foray into the Gilford box and a defensive lapse gifted Moira a surprise equaliser on 79 minutes setting up an exciting finish as both teams sought the goal which would secure three vital points.
Moira seemed to gain some strength from their goal and only three terrific stops in as many minutes from the ever-present Martin Savage prevented a shock turn-over.
Emmett Scullion replaced Stephen Donaghy with only minutes to go as Gilford threw everyone forward looking for the elusive second goal which finally came in the third minute of stoppage time as McDowell, again, floated the ball over the heads of the Moria defence to Cunningham who beat the offside trap despite the Moira players shouts, Wiggy somehow swivelled to connect with the ball which looped up and over the Moria keeper to score his and Gilford’s second of the game.
The next scheduled league match is away to Craigavon City at 2.15pm on Saturday. Match to be played at Lord Lurgan Park.
All involved with Gilford FC would like to wish John Feeney and his new wife Julie all the best for their future together.