Enniskillen Athletic 3 Strathroy Harps 1

With their survival in Division One in their own hands going into the final game of the season, Enniskillen Athletic ensured they would be in the top flight next year with a well-earned win over Strathroy Harps at the Lakland Forum on Saturday.

It means they no longer have to worry about the outcome of Omagh Hospitals and Magheraveely to decide the final relegation spot.

Athletic started very well and had some early chances before they went ahead in the 11th minutes thanks to a Matt Holden free kick.

Strathroy were dominating possession but could not create any real chances against a well drilled Athletic back four, with stand-in keeper, Phillip Leonard, having little to do.

They did have a shout for a penalty when Joachim Smith went down in the box but the referee waved play on before Jacob Britton doubled the home side’s lead with just over 30 minutes played.

It could have been 3-0 when the impressive John Joe Strain had a chance but it came back off the post.

Strathroy got themselves back into the game just before half time.

A failing of Athletic’s all season has been defending corners and it was the same here as they did not clear the ball and Caolan McCrossan prodded home, 2-1 at the break.

Strathroy continued to have plenty of possession in the second half but they could not find a way through, while Athletic were causing problems when breaking down the right with Bryan Owens, Britton and Conor Love.

With 87 minutes played, this is where the third goal came from as good play put Love clear and he squared to Strain who had the easiest of finishes to wrap up the three points.

For outgoing Athletic manager, Anthony Fitzpatrick, looking back at the year past, survival was a great achievement for club.

“It was a great achievement from the players to stay up, especially considering the middle of the season and the unavailability of players.”

Fitzpatrick now wants the club to build on it and ensure they move up the table.

“The club now need to recruit well in the summer to make sure they are not in the same position again next year,” he stated.