We welcome Ballinamallard United to Dixon Park tomorrow afternoon in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.
When: Saturday 29th January – Kick-Off 3:00pm
Where: Dixon Park
What: Lough 41 Championship
Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession)
Match Sponsor – Family Cars NI
Ball Sponsor – Kenny Homes
Ballinamallard United are right in the thick of a promotion challenge, currently occupying 2nd spot in the Lough 41 Championship. Last week, however, they lost out to Newry City at home in a top of the table clash. The first half ended scoreless, and was a largely disjointed affair throughout although both sides had their chances with Dean Curry heading over from a corner just after the half-hour mark while, moments from the break, Daniel Hughes clipped a free-kick from the edge of the area into Rory Brown’s arms. However, the game livened up considerably after the interval. Newry almost moved in front early on when James Teelan’s cross from the left was volleyed just wide by John McGovern while, for the Mallards, Curry was unlucky to head a Duwayne McManus cross off the bar. The home side struck the woodwork again soon after direct from a BJ Banda corner but the deadlock was eventually broken on 71 minutes when a Hughes free-kick found it’s way through a crowded box into the net. The visitors then doubled their advantage soon after when Northern Ireland Under-21 international McGovern directed a header past Brown. Harry McConkey’s side might have snatched a late consolation when Banda found himself through on goal but City keeper Steven Maguire reacted quickly to come off his line to smother the ball.
Knockbreda twice came from behind last week to claim a point from The Comrades’ visit to Breda Park. It took the visitors just over a minute to move in front when recent arrival Owen McKeown won a free-kick which Ian Fletcher delivered into the area for Jason Johnston to nod home. ‘Breda almost levelled straightaway only to hit the crossbar before, just shy of the half-hour mark, skipper Ross McCaughan did equalise with a header past Jack Ferguson. Ballyclare regained the advantage on the hour. Breaking on the counter attack, substitute Ciaran Dobbin ran with the ball almost the full length of the pitch before finding Liam Hassin with a pass who, in turn, cut it back for Dobbin to slide beyond Lewis Deane. However, the home side responded positively once again, and subsequently earned a share of the spoils thanks to Nathan O’Neill’s, who had only been on the pitch for around sixty seconds, 25-yard finish on 72 minutes. The result keeps the Comrades in 8th position in the Lough 41 Championship.
Last Time Out
The last time these two sides met, Ryan Morris scored the only goal of the game as Ballinamallard United defeated Ballyclare Comrades 1-0 at Ferney Park. Morris struck just after the half-hour mark with a header from a corner in off Comrades keeper Richard Purcell. It had been a keenly fought encounter up to that point with BJ Banda and Liam McKenna coming close with efforts at either end during the opening exchanges. The Mallards enjoyed periods of possession as the first half progressed but were often let down by the final ball while Ballyclare had penalty claims waved away after Joe Tully was pulled down inside the box. After the break Lee McCune forced Mallards keeper into an early save before the visitors were denied by a goalline Aaron Arkinson clearance. Morris came close to doubling Ballinamallard’s lead on 72 minutes only to skim the ball past an upright, and Ballyclare came within a whisker of the equaliser right at the end after Matthew Herron found himself through on goal but could only rattle the crossbar with his effort.