We welcome Institute to Dixon Park tomorrow afternoon in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.
When: Saturday 15th January – Kick-Off 3:00pm
Where: Dixon Park
What: Lough 41 Championship
Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession)
Match Sponsor – Abbey Real Estate
Ball Sponsor – Bob McPherson
Institute suffered similar fate to the Comrades last week as they exited the Irish Cup at the hands of Portstewart FC. With the game looking to be heading for extra time, Portstewart’s Mark Edgar struck home an effort from 30 yards into the top corner, leaving keeper, Connolly, helpless. In the league, ‘Stute currently occupy the second from bottom spot, but they did hold league leaders, Newry City to a 0-0 in their last league outing.
The Comrades exited the Irish Cup at the first hurdle last week with a defeat to local rivals Carrick Rangers where the Premiership side were just too strong on the day. The visitors made the breakthrough on the half-hour mark when a lovely ball from Cherry set Gibson free on the left side of the box and he made no mistake clinically finishing wide of the ‘keeper from 6 yards. Eight minutes later Carrick doubled their lead with a great goal. Cherry picked up a clearance from the Comrades defence and struck a superb shot from 30 yards which came off the inside of the post and into the net, giving Richard Purcell no chance. The game rather petered out in its latter stages with the visitors maintaining their lead comfortably and Comrades, although they had steadied the ship defensively, struggling to create much of a threat. Paul Harbinson believes his side can take the positives from last week’s game into tomorrow’s upcoming fixture; “There’s fight, there’s heart and there’s honesty in the changing room. There’s a team that wants to work for each other, we’re still making silly mistakes, but there’s lots to build on and we’ve a couple of new faces coming in as well.”
Last Time Out
The Comrades and Institute drew a blank last time out at Dixon Park in October, although the visitors might feel they should have returned home with the points in the bag after missing a second half spot-kick. The Comrades started brightly, creating an early opening which ended with Liam McKenna dragging an effort wide when through on goal. ‘Stute came close midway through the first half when Aaron McGurk saw a 25-yard free-kick tipped over by Richard Purcell before, a minute after that, he kept out a Jamie Dunne strike. At the other end John Connolly did well to deal with another McKenna effort and was called into action again not long after that to save a Gary Donnelly header. The visitors had a great chance to move in front just before the hour. Curtis Woods was adjudged to have upended Dunne inside the box but, from the penalty that followed, Liam Walsh could only look on as his effort was turned away by the diving Purcell. Ballyclare were reduced to ten men on 74 minutes when Howard Beverland was dismissed for a challenge on Liam Walsh but ‘Stute failed to take advantage and, indeed, have Connolly to thank with a couple of saves late in the game to deny McKenna and Ciaran Dobbin.