Sat 22 Jan - 15:00 | Dixon Park

Ballyclare Comrades

Johnston 37', Mooney 70'

2-2

Ballinamallard United

Moorehead 47', McEvoy 64'

Sat 15 Jan - 15:00 | Dixon Park

V

Ballyclare Comrades

Johnston 37', Mooney 70'

Ballinamallard United

Moorehead 47', McEvoy 64'

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BALL SPONSOR

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Pre-Match Guide

We welcome Ballinamallard United to Dixon Park tomorrow afternoon in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

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

The Opponents

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.

The Comrades

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.

Teams

Match Report

Comrades and Ballinamallard shared the points after an entertaining encounter at Dixon Park.

The initial stages of the game were relatively quiet with little happening in front of goal and both sides struggling to get the ball down and create anything.

The first chance came in the 19th minute when Ian Fletcher crossed the ball back into the box after it had only been cleared out to him from a corner and Ciarán Dobbin got on the end of it in the back post area, but his header from 7 yards flashed over the bar.

A minute later the hosts threatened again when Liam Hassin played a high ball into the box where Kyle Beggs arrived to get in front of a defender, but his header went wide from 12 yards.

At the other end, the Malllards were quiet in the first half, but in the 33rd minute space opened-up for McEvoy to shoot from 20 yards, but his effort went wide of the target.

The opening goal came on 37 minutes, and it fell to Comrades. Kyle Beggs, starting after returning to the club on from Glenavon in midweek, sent in a dangerous cross and Jason Johnston managed to get his head to the ball before a defender to glance it from 8 yards wide of the despairing dive of the ‘keeper and into the net.

Comrades had looked the more dangerous side in the first half and had a chance to double their lead in the 45th minute when a corner played to the back post by Ian Fletcher was met by an Andrew Mooney header at the back post which went over the bar from 5 yards.

The hosts went in at the break with the lead, but this was soon wiped out after the restart. Within two minutes the Mallards were back on level terms. Banda played a dangerous ball in from the angle of the box, and it broke through to Moorehead who had the simple task of nodding it in from close range.

Play now flowed from end to end, with the visitors looking noticeably livelier than they had in the first half. They got their reward when they took the lead in the 64th minute. They won a free kick 30 yards from goal and McEvoy stepped up to strike a great effort which saw the ball fly in just inside the post and beyond the dive of Richard Purcell.

A minute later the Mallards had a great chance to increase their advantage when Banda charged down a clearance from Ryan Arthur and strode clear into the box, but his resulting shot went just wide of the far post.

Comrades’ supporters were getting a feeling of déjà vu having seen their side take a lead in the previous three league games and fail to win any of them. However at least this time they were able to battle back and salvage a point.

The equaliser came in the 70th minute when a great link up on the left side of the box between Andrew Mooney and Caoilan Brennan created the chance for Mooney to lash the ball into the net from 12 yards.

The rest of the match saw plenty of enterprise, but neither side could fashion the chance to take all three points.

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