We welcome Ballinamallard United to Dixon Park tomorrow evening for the first round of the Bet McLean League Cup.
When: Tuesday 13th September – Kick-Off 7:45pm
Where: Dixon Park
What: Bet McLean League Cup – Round 1
Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (OAP & U16) / £3 (U12 in the company of an adult). A reminder to all season ticket holders that season tickets are not valid for cup competitions.
Match & Ball Sponsor: Ballyclare Comrades FC Supporters Club
The Mallards are yet to record a victory in the Lough 41 Championship after their opening 5 fixtures this season. Their last outing was a 2-1 home defeat to Dundela at Ferney Park. The visitors moved in front after 11 minutes through Eamon Fyfe who connected with a Tony Kane corner to head past keeper Michael Lynch. Ballinamallard levelled, however, around the half-hour mark through Caolan McAleer. And that was how it stayed until midway through the second half when supersub Rhys Annett followed up with the winner after Kane’s initial effort had been pushed away.
The Comrades suffered the disappointment of a penalty shoot-out defeat to Dundela last week to exit the County Antrim Shield away at Wilgar Park. The home side started the strongest and took a deserved lead on 10 minutes when Igiehon received the ball in the box after an incisive thrust up the right and turned neatly to fire low into the far corner of the net. Dundela looked very capable of increasing their lead and they would have only for great goalkeeping from Declan Breen. The Comrades levelled the scores in the 68th minute when Joe Tully played a ball which eluded the home defence and set substitute Conall Curran free in the box and he coolly knocked the ball over the ‘keeper from 6 yards. Both sides pushed for a winner, however, it was the Comrades who may have come closest on the 89th minute when Darius Roohi played a great ball in from the left edge of the box which was met by a diving Joe Tully header from 9 yards that came out off the underside of the bar. Then, from the rebound, ‘keeper Cairns produced a great save to turn Conall Curran’s effort onto the bar. At the final whistle, the match moved straight to penalties to decide the winner. The hosts went first, and Magee scored, with Darius Roohi then levelling with Comrades’ opening penalty. However, it was Comrades who were the first to blink when Cairns saved Joe Tully’s effort which was Comrades second. All the next penalties were converted with Gary Donnelly and Conall Currran successful for Comrades until Dundela had the chance to wrap up victory with their fifth penalty. Goalkeeper Cairns stepped up to take it but was foiled by a save from Declan Breen. However, Cairns was to be the Dundela hero after all as he saved the next penalty taken by Elliot McKim to send his team through.
Last Time Out
The last time these two sides met, the Comrades and Mallards fought out a scoreless draw in the season opener at Dixon Park. Ballinamallard squandered an early chance to seize the advantage when, after a quarter-of-an-hour, BJ Banda struck the crossbar with a penalty after he had been brought down by Conall McGrandles. For Ballyclare Joe Tully perhaps came closest just before the break only to be denied by a goalline Mark Stafford clearance. Stafford saved the Mallards again later in the game with another header off the line to thwart Cathal Farren while Banda had a late chance only to send the ball wide from a good position.