Posted on Leave a comment

Pre-Match Guide | Ards 24/09/21

We travel to Clandeboye Park tomorrow night to take on Ards in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

When: Friday 24th September – Kick-Off 7:45pm

Where: Clandeboye Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession)

The Opponents

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

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pre-Match Guide | Queen’s University 21/09/21

We invite Queen’s University to Dixon Park tomorrow evening in the first round of the ToalsBet.com County Antrim Shield.

Match Info

When: Tuesday 21st September – Kick-Off 7:45pm

Where: Dixon Park

What: ToalsBet.com County Antrim Shield Round 1

Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession)

A reminder to season ticket holders that season tickets are not valid for cup games.

Match & Ball Sponsor: Dominos, Ballyclare

The Opponents

Queen’s University’s bad start to the season continued on Saturday with a 3-1 defeat away to Dergview. That’s now 7 defeats in their opening 8 games in the Lough 41 Championship for the Students. However, the Comrades have faced up against Peter Thompson’s men twice already this season and know from the close encounters of both games, that Tuesday evening will be anything but easy.

The Comrades

The Comrades come into the game following a 1-0 victory over early league leaders, Newry City, on Saturday. Newry started the better of the sides and were on top for most of the first half as Comrades struggled to put anything together. However, the visitors were largely kept at bay by the home defence and struggled to create chances despite having most of the possession. The second half, however, was a different story and Comrades were on the front-foot. Gary Donnelly got the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute. 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 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. The hosts were able to see out the rest of the game to seal an important win. Ian Fletcher took a nasty knock to the head during Saturday’s game and had to go to A&E for stitches, while Howard Beverland also departed the field early as a precautionary measure for a tight hamstring. After a quick turnaround from Saturday, Harbinson may well look to shuffle his deck for Tuesday night’s cup tie.

Last Time Out

You have to go the whole way back to last week for the last time the Comrades and Queen’s faced up against each other. Comrades came away with all three points in the Lough 41 Championship after a hard-fought 3-1 win over Queen’s at The Dub. Paul Harbinson’s men started the better of the sides and bossed the first 15 minutes. However, the only effort of note during this period was in the 11th minute when Adam Gray produced a good turn and shot from 22 yards which went narrowly wide of the post. The rest of the first half was evenly balanced, with defences generally on top despite enterprising attacking play from both teams. As the game moved into its final quarter it looked like it might be heading for stalemate, and it took a wonderful goal on 72 minutes to break the stalemate, with Liam McKenna producing a lovely curler from 25 yards which dipped over the ‘keeper and just under the bar. The game now opened up for an exciting finish and Comrades doubled their lead in the 79th minute. A good run down the middle from Adam Gray discomforted the home defence and the ball broke to Ciaran Heggarty who cut into the right side of the box and struck a great effort wide of the ‘keeper into the top corner of the net from 17 yards. Five minutes later, the travelling supporters hopes of a stress-free end to the game were dented when Queen’s pulled a goal back. A ball played into the box caused danger and it broke to Clarke who rifled a shot into the net from 12 yards. After a nervous period with the hosts pressing, Comrades sealed the victory a minute into injury-time. Adam Gray did well to get into the box on the by-line and was tripped by a defender, leading to the award of a penalty. Gray stepped up himself to take the spot-kick, but his effort was blocked by ‘keeper Devine. However, Andrew Mooney was first to the loose ball, firing it into the roof of the net from the edge of the 6-yard box.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pre-Match Guide | Newry City 18/09/21

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Ballyclare Comrades FC Klubfunder Shop Now Open

Ballyclare Comrades FC Uhlsport range is now available online on our Klubfunder shop.

The Klubfunder Shop Window will be open from today, Thursday 16th September, 2021 and will stay open for two weeks closing at midnight on Thursday 30th September, 2021. This will be the last Klubfunder Shop Window until next year so if you want to get any of our available Uhlsport range in time for Christmas, make sure you don’t miss out.

Orders can be placed via our Klubfunder shop @ https://www.klubfunder.com/Clubs/Ballyclare%20Comrades%20Football%20Club/ShopItems

Alternatively, speak to Justyn at the Club Shop at Dixon Park on matchdays to order.

Posted on Leave a comment

Paul Harbinson on Linfield, mood in the camp & team news

In the build up to our Bet McLean League Cup tie vs Linfield, Paul Harbinson spoke with our media team on Linfield, the mood in the camp and some team news. Read on for a full transcript:

Paul, cup nights don’t come much bigger than this one. Home, at Dixon Park, under the lights against the current Premiership and Irish Cup champions. How much are you looking forward to this one?

We’re all very much looking forward to the game as an opportunity to test ourselves against the very best and also to tidy up a lot of what we haven’t been tidy with in the last few weeks. We have a big couple of weeks ahead and collectively, we don’t feel that we are performing to our potential so it gives us a chance against the best to really challenge our mentality and our determination.

What has the mood been like in the camp in preparation for the match?

The mood has been excellent. We had a training session on Sunday morning together and the players were all feeling fit and strong and there is a real feeling of togetherness. We are blessed to have a fantastic group of players both personally and professionally so it makes it very easy to work with.

Any injuries concerns going into the game?

We have picked up a few minor injuries over the course of the last few games. Chris Ramsey had a little niggle, as did Ciaran Dobbin. We all saw Jack Ferguson slam his back off the post on Saturday so we’ll be cautious about that too. Other than that, we’re happy that everyone else is fighting fit.

Ballyclare will undoubtedly be going into this one as underdogs, but, as we know, anything can happen in cup games. What are Ballyclare’s chances of causing an upset?

I think we’ll just focus on this game as an opportunity to continue on our journey of progression. We want to improve every week and we have stalled a little on that so this is just a midweek chance to put that right. The players are looking forward to it and hopefully we’ll have a good crowd out to enjoy an entertaining game of football.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pre-Match Guide | Linfield 14/09/21

We invite Danske Bank Premiership Champions Linfield to Dixon Park tomorrow evening in the 2nd round of the Bet McLean League Cup.

Match Info

When: Tuesday 14th September – Kick-Off 7:45pm

Where: Dixon Park

What: Bet McLean League Cup 2nd Round

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

A reminder to season ticket holders that season tickets are not valid for cup games.

All supporters should be aware that there will be a strict gate policy; anyone leaving the ground during the game (including at half time) will not be able to get back into the ground.

Match Sponsor: Simpson Developments

Ball Sponsor: Ballyclare Fuels

The Opponents

Linfield come to Dixon Park following a 3-2 victory over Portadown in the Danske Bank Premiership at the weekend. They had to twice come from behind as Portadown led 2-1 at the break. Back came Linfield, however, on 67 minutes with Matt Green’s first goal for the club after he met Kirk Millar’s cross to turn it beyond Doherty. It then fell to Manzinga to claim the win for the visitors with five minutes to go when he got past a defender before unleashing a powerful drive into the net to grab his second of the game. The Blues have only played two league games with games being called off due to players away on international duty.

The Comrades

The Comrades got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 3-1 victory away to Queen’s University in the Lough 41 Championship. Three goals in the final 20 minutes helped Paul Harbinson’s men overcome the Students at the Dub. Liam McKenna once again popped up with the goods as he broke the deadlock with a 25-yard drive into the top corner. Ciaran Heggarty got his first league goal for the club just seven minutes later when the ball was slipped through to him and he confidently put the ball into the roof of the net. The students did pull one back before Ballyclare restored their two-goal cushion in stoppage time when Andrew Mooney knocked home the rebound after Adam Gray saw his initial penalty saved. Speaking on the upcoming game, Comrades skipper, Chris Ramsey said “It’s going to be a tough game. Linfield are the best team in the country, they’ve proved that over the last load of years and it’ll be tough for us. But we go into it with no pressure on us, we just have to go out and work hard and listen to how we’re being told to set up and if we stick to our shape, hopefully we can pull-off a bit of a surprise result.”

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met in a competitive fixture was in the Irish Cup 5th Round in January 2019. A second-half goal from former Comrades player, Joel Cooper, was the only difference between the two sides on the day as Linfield progressed to the next round with a 1-0 victory at Windsor Park. Due to some heroic defending, the Comrades made it in at the break with the scores level at 0-0. Early in the second-half, Adam Gray had Ballyclare’s best chance of the game as a powerful shot from outside the box had Linfield ‘keeper, Roy Carroll, scrambling; the experienced international ‘keeper eventually got the ball under control though after his initial save bounced back into danger. Linfield’s persistence paid off as Casement’s deflected cross found the head of Andy Waterworth who flicked it on to Cooper and he headed in. The game finished 1-0 and Linfield progressed to the 6th round where they would face Crusaders.