We travel to Clandeboye Park tomorrow night to take on Ards in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.
When: Friday 24th September – Kick-Off 7:45pm
Where: Clandeboye Park
What: Lough 41 Championship
Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession)
Ards are currently sitting 3rd in the Lough 41 Championship, with an identical start to the season as the Comrades with 5 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses in their opening 8 games. They come into tomorrow night’s game following a 2-1 defeat away to Institute last Saturday. Institute stunned Ards with a dramatic stoppage comeback to claim victory at the Brandywell. The visitors, going into the game in second spot, moved in front on 29 minutes after Ross Arthurs smashed the ball home following a scramble in the box. It was a lead they held for almost the remainder of the game until that heart stopping finale despite playing the remaining quarter-of-an-hour with ten men following Christopher Crane’s dismissal for an off the ball incident involving ‘Stute’s Joel Gorman. ‘Stute levelled in the 90th minute in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Ards keeper Brian Neeson came out to punch a corner clear but the ball came off Jack Millar and looped back over Neeson into the net. Then, in the fifth minute of added time, Brendan McLaughlin fired ‘Stute’s winner into the roof of the net amid unbelievable scenes. Ards will be looking to get back to winning ways at Clandeboye Park tomorrow night.
The Comrades have been in fine form recently with 4 wins in their last 6 outings. The only defeat in that period has been to Danske Bank Premiership champions, Linfield. Tomorrow night’s game is a quick turnaround from Tuesday night’s victory over Queen’s University in the ToalsBet.com Co Antrim Shield. Having played Queen’s 3 times now this season, manager Paul Harbinson spoke of the challenge to “motivate players and get them up for a game where they are naturally psychologically thinking that they’ve already won this and it should be an easy game. But it’s never an easy game, Queen’s always come with a good plan, they play good football and they were really hard at it. So it’s a psychological one and thankfully we were on the right side of it.” Matthew Herron grabbed his first competitive goal for the club on Tuesday evening, while Andrew Mooney took home the Man of the Match award following his 2 goals on the night. Speaking on the quick turnaround for tomorrow night’s upcoming fixture, Paul Harbinson said “It’s a really really quick turnaround, we’ve done our homework as we always do and we’ll hope that the information that we’ve got is the right information. We’re going there with as much ammunition as we ever do, yes it’s a quick turnaround but that’s football, get on with it.” Full back, Ian Fletcher, is set to miss the next couple of weeks following an injury to the head last Saturday, while the Comrades manager is hopeful that Howard Beverland will be back in contention for tomorrow night’s squad.
Last Time Out
January 2020 was the last time these two sides met where they played out a 2-2 draw at Clandeboye Park. The Comrades moved in front after 20 minutes when a Jordan Malone free-kick into the box was adjudged to have been handled by William Armstrong with Joe Tully stepping up to convert from the spot-kick that followed. Kym Nelson levelled for Ards just after the half-hour mark with a header from six yards after he was picked out by a set piece from the left. Ballyclare regained the advantage a couple of minutes from the break with Tully’s second of the afternoon, a lob over keeper Brian Neeson after Tom Mathieson had delivered a long ball forward. Ards might have restored parity early in the second half when Michael McLellan sent a long range effort against the crossbar but they did equalise again just before the hour thanks to Craig McMillen’s rifled finish after a David McAllister effort rebounded out to him.