Sat 18 Sep - 15:00 | Dixon Park

Ballyclare Comrades

Donnelly 52'

1-0

Newry City

Sat 18 Sep - 15:00 | Dixon Park

1-0

Ballyclare Comrades

Donnelly 52'

Newry City

MATCH SPONSOR

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BALL SPONSOR

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Pre-Match Guide

We invite Newry City to Dixon Park tomorrow afternoon in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

When: Saturday 18th September – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Dixon Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession) (U12 free entry with paying adult)

Match sponsor: Agnew Mitchell & Cairns Accountants

Ball sponsor: Jenkins Butchers – Main Street, Ballyclare & Station Road, Doagh

The Opponents

Newry have been flying since the start of the season and currently top the Lough 41 Championship. They had a 100% record with 6 wins in their opening 6 games and only dropped their first points in the league last Saturday to Ballinamallard United, who brought Newry’s winning run to an end with a 3-0 victory over Darren Mullen’s men. Newry were in league cup action as well this week, where they were put out by a 2-1 defeat to premiership side, Warrenpoint Town. Brian Healy opened the scoring for Newry City with two minutes on the clock but this was cancelled out by Warrenpoint with a clinical finish into the bottom left corner just after the half-hour mark. After the break, Newry had the ball in the net with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining although this was ruled out offside. It took Warrenpoint’s Greg Moorhouse’s 101st minute diving header from Kealan Dillon’s cross to the back post to separate the sides and send Newry City out of the cup. With 2 defeats in their last 2 outings, Darren Mullen will be looking a reaction from his players at Dixon Park.

The Comrades

Paul Harbinson’s men come into the game after being on the wrong end of a 4-0 result on Tuesday night against Linfield. Despite the heavy defeat, Harbinson was in positive spirits following the game, praising his side’s “hard-work, ethic and working for each other”. The manager has challenged his squad to “stay concentrated for 90 minutes at Championship level every week” in the same manner that he seen his side concentrate for large spells against Linfield. On the upcoming Newry game, Harbinson said “There’s no easy game, as we’ve proven already, just as everyone has proven, everyone is taking points off everyone so we’ve just got to see can we focus and can we concentrate, and if we do that, that’s progress and we’ll be happy with that.”. Tuesday night also saw Matthew Herron make his competitive debut for the club while Eoghan Devine made his first completive start. Adam McCart also made his return to the starting lineup following a lengthy spell away from football and Adam Gray came off the bench to make his 200th appearance for the Comrades.

Last Time Out

Boxing Day 2019 was the last time these two sides met as The Comrades and Newry City battled to a share of the Boxing Day spoils in an evenly contested encounter at Dixon Park. Newry opened the scoring a minute from the break with Kevin McArdle who cut inside from the right to beat McCauley at the near post with the ball initially striking the upright before going in off the keeper. The visitors might have doubled their lead just after the hour but John Boyle headed off the crossbar from around six yards out before Stefan Lavery fired just past the far post soon after. For Ballyclare, substitute Joe Tully directed a header on target from a Ciaran Dobbin free kick, but Lewis Hunter did well to make the save. However, Tully went one better with eight minutes remaining; after being upended inside the area he kept his composure to step up to calmly beat the Newry keeper from the spot. The Comrades might have secured the points in the closing minutes when Adam Gray struck the post from 20 yards but Lukasz Adamczyk was unable to keep the rebound on target and the game finished 1-1.

Teams

Match Report

Comrades secured a victory over table-toppers Newry in a closely fought encounter at Dixon Park.

The visitors started the better of the sides and were on top for most of the first half as Comrades struggled to put anything together. However, Newry were largely kept at bay by the home defence and struggled to create chances despite having most of the possession.

However, on 21 minutes Comrades almost gifted their opponents the lead when Jack Ferguson scuffed a clearance straight to Daniel Hughes, but the ‘keeper managed to redeem himself, closing down the Newry striker in the box to make it hard for him to shoot and then blocking his eventual effort.

The play was scrappy from both sides for much of the first half, but as it reached it final minutes Comrades suddenly came to life, looking dangerous for the first time in the game.

In the 42nd minute, after a good run, Adam Gray laid the ball to Gary Donnelly who made space for a shot from twenty-five yards which wasn’t far off target. Then three minutes later Donnelly went on a run across the pitch before sending in a great cross from the left side of the box. He picked out Tom Mathieson at the far post, but he couldn’t direct his header on target, sending the ball across the goal but wide of the post from five yards out.

Two minutes into first half injury-time the hosts had a half-chance when a long clearance forward from Jack Ferguson was misjudged by the Newry defence and Ciarán Dobbin got to the ball at the edge of the box just before the ‘keeper. However, he couldn’t direct his first-time lobbed effort on target and it drifted over the bar.

The second half began with Comrades on the front-foot. Inside the first minute an excellent move involving Curtis Woods and Ciarán Dobbin ended with Dobbin cutting the ball back from the by-line to Tom Mathieson who then scuffed an effort from just inside the box which Maguire saved easily.

In the 52nd minute the home side got the reward for their enterprising start to the second half when they took the lead. It all started with Joe Tully beautifully controlling a high ball. He then set Tom Mathieson free to run to the edge of the box and send in a teasing ball which Gary Donnelly made contact with, sending it goalward from six yards. Despite the ‘keeper’s effort to claw the ball away it crossed the line, quickly confirmed by the referee’s assistant.

Comrades continued to attack and on 58 minutes they came close when a long throw into the box was only cleared to Curtis Woods steaming in to get to the ball first, but his fizzing drive went just over the bar from eighteen yards.

The hosts were having the bulk of the attacking play, but they almost gifted an equaliser to their opponents on 59 minutes, when a shanked clearance from the otherwise excellent Adam McCart landed at the feet of Daniel Hughes who looked certain to score, but he was denied from seven yards by a superb Jack Ferguson save.

In the 63rd minute the hosts had a chance to add to their lead when the ball was played through to Tom Mathieson who had got behind the visitors’ defence, but Maguire was alert to come out and block his effort from eight yards.

Comrades had a couple of strikes on target as the clocked ticked down. First it was Adam Gray who tested the ‘keeper on 78 minutes with an effort from the edge of the box which was comfortably saved. Then, seven minutes later, space opened up for Ciarán Dobbin with the Newry defence stretched, but his resulting effort from twenty-five yards was hit too close to the ‘keeper.

The home side’s lead remained slim, and it was threatened in the 86th minute when Lawless made a great run down the middle of the field before shooting just wide from twenty yards.

A minute later at the other end the industrious Joe Tully hit a great strike from thirty yards which forced a flying save from Maguire.

The hosts were able to see out the final minutes of the game comfortably to seal an important win.

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