NIFL Danske Bank Premiership Matchday 37: Blues Bid To Take Title Race To The Wire

Northern Ireland

Bottom Half

Ballinamallard United v Ards Friday 21st April 2017, 20:00

After their loss on Easter Tuesday, the Mallards have been consigned to a 10th place finish, but while the final two matchdays may be a dead rubber to them, there are still other places up for grabs in the bottom half of the league. Ards’ 3-2 victory over Portadown has kept them within sight of that final European playoff spot, and the Co Down side will look to in-form Guillaume Keke again as the striker now has eight goals in his last eight appearances.

Glentoran v Portadown Saturday 22nd April 2017, 15:00

Glentoran managed to come from behind to beat Carrick 2-1 on Tuesday, but will require something of a minor miracle if they are to sneak into the final European playoff spot. Gary Haveron’s side will be looking to notch up only their 5th home victory from 18 games this season. Portadown’s loss to Ards confirmed their automatic relegation from the Premiership, and it’s been a frustrating season for the Ports who would be in a prime position to fight for safety if it were not for their 12 point deduction at the beginning of the campaign.

Dungannon Swifts v Carrick Rangers Saturday 22nd April 2017, 15:00

Dungannon’s three points against Ballinamallard has set them up very well for that final European playoff place, a position that can be secured with a home win over a Carrick side with only two wins in their last ten league outings. The Swifts will once again look to Andrew Mitchell to lead the line as their Glenavon-bound frontman leads the scoring charts with 23 goals in 24 league appearances! Carrick’s 11th place finish has been confirmed and they will surely be looking ahead to prepare themselves for their impending relegation playoff battle.

Top Half

Cliftonville v Glenavon Saturday 22nd April 2017, 15:00

Cliftonville’s poor form continued on Tuesday as they sank to a 3rd consecutive league defeat, this time at the hands of Ballymena. Cliftonville would need results elsewhere to give them any hope of finding a 3rd place finish in the league before the season ends, and may need to simply accept trying to stop their current rot before the European playoffs begin. Glenavon are another side desperate to find some good form as this season runs out, the Lurgan Blues have only one win in their last five league games.

Coleraine v Linfield Saturday 22nd April 2017, 15:00

Coleraine’s inability to hold onto a first half lead against Crusaders did not see them lose any ground in their bid for 3rd place thanks to results elsewhere, and a point at home to Linfield would be enough to seal that position regardless of what happens in the other fixtures. Linfield continued their incredible league run with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Glenavon to remain just one point behind league leaders Crusaders. The Blues look like a side playing without any nerves at all and their confidence is growing as the games go on.

Ballymena United v Crusaders Saturday 22nd April 2017, 15:00

Ballymena’s 4-1 victory over Cliftonville was their first league victory in six games, and the Sky Blues will hope to kick-start a good run of results as the season comes to a close and the European playoff matches come into view. Crusaders’ have made comebacks from a losing position in the last two league outings to pick up three points on both occasions. The Hatchetmen will naturally be hoping for a smoother 90 minutes on Saturday as they aim to keep themselves in the driving seat for the title, although an unexpected loss for Linfield could be enough to see the Crues seal the title a game early if they find victory at the Ballymena Showgrounds.