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Pre-Match Guide | Knockbreda 22/01/22

We travel to Breda Park tomorrow afternoon to take on Knockbreda in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

When: Saturday 22nd January – Kick-Off 2:00pm

Where: Breda Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

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

The Opponents

Knockbreda currently occupy 9th position in the Lough 41 Championship, just one spot and two points behind the Comrades. Last week they travelled to Queen’s University where The Students collected a much needed three points with victory over Knockbreda at The Dub. Queen’s moved in front after 11 minutes when Leon Bonnes connected with a corner to head past keeper Lewis Deane. It was a lead they held until just before the break when Stephen Garrett levelled for ‘Breda. Queen’s regained the advantage on 79 minutes, however, courtesy of a Chris Middleton tap in following some poor visiting defending. Then, with five minutes remaining, Ciaran O’Hare made sure of the win, only the third in the Championship this season for Peter Thompson’s side.

The Comrades

Two goals late in the second half saw Institute come from behind to defeat The Comrades at Dixon Park last week. The home side needed just ten minutes to open the scoring when an Ian Fletcher cross deep into the box was only partially cleared allowing Liam Hassin to get to the ball and nod past John Connolly. Ballyclare could have doubled their advantage before the break when new signing Caiolan Brennan tested Connolly with an effort from just outside the box, before teeing Michael Smith up moments later to fire just over. Brennan was involved again just after the hour when he nodded the ball on for fellow transfer window arrival Ryan Arthur while Arthur himself turned provider soon after with a free-kick to the back post but Hassin could only head slightly off target. However, Institute levelled on 77 minutes when Brendan McLaughlin, who had come close a few minutes earlier, headed past Jack Ferguson. Then, right at the death, Mark McFadden knocked home what proved to be Institute’s winner with a fantastic individual finish with the last kick of the game. The result keeps The Comrades in 8th position in the Lough 41 Championship, while Knockbreda are only two points behind with a game in hand. Paul Harbinson is focused on using last week’s heartbreak as “motivation to fire us, Institute’s celebrations at the end has to hurt us and we have to go to Knockbreda now with a fire in our bellies and know that this is more important.”

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met, The Comrades lost out by the odd goal in five away to Knockbreda. The home side moved in front after half-an-hour through Peter McDermott, a lead they held until just before the break when Liam McKenna levelled with a finish into an empty net. ‘Breda regained the advantage early in the second half thanks to Ethan Devine and went further ahead on 56 minutes when Karl Hamill knocked home number three. Joe Tully reduced the deficit midway through the second half from a Matthew Herron pass but Knockbreda held on to claim the points.

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Pre-Match Guide | Institute 15/01/22

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

Match Info

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

The Opponents

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

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.

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Pre-Match Guide | Carrick Rangers 08/01/22

We welcome Carrick Rangers to Dixon Park tomorrow afternoon in the 1st Round of this season’s Irish Cup.

Match Info

When: Saturday 8th January – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Dixon Park

What: Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey Irish Cup

Entry: Pay at the gate – £10 (Adult) / £7 (Concession)

*Reminder to season ticket holders that season tickets are not valid for cup games.

Match Sponsor – Montgomery Transport

Ball Sponsor – 365 Taxis

The Opponents

Carrick Rangers got off to a flying start in the Danske Bank Premiership this season under new manager, Stuart King. More recently, however, results haven’t been going their way and they currently occupy 9th spot in the league table. Last week, they brought their losing streak to a halt with a hard-fought point away to Crusaders. King’s side had lost their previous six outings but almost got off to a perfect start inside the opening moments when Stewart Nixon forced a save from Crues keeper Jonny Tuffey. At the other end Philip Lowry created space on the edge of the area to test Matthew Skeet with a low drive. The bright start didn’t materialise into an entertaining first half with the next real effort of note not arriving until moments from the break when a David Cushley free-kick reached Daniel Kelly but he could only direct the ball wide. It took a while for the second period to get going as well with Carrick coming close to breaking the deadlock on the counter when Kelly produced a left sided diving save from Tuffey to turn a curling effort away. Jarlath O’Rourke then had a go from around 30 yards with just under a quarter-of-an-hour to go but Skeet did well to hold onto the ball. The hosts did have the ball in the net soon after that but Johnny McMurray’s finish was ruled out offside while the same player later scuffed a left-foot shot wide.

The Comrades

Last week, Lee Upton scored both goals as Annagh United came from behind to defeat The Comrades at Dixon Park. Annagh came close to breaking the deadlock inside the opening ten minutes in an otherwise scrappy start when Craig Taylor clipped the crossbar from a free-kick. However, it fell to the Comrades to find a way through when, on 27 minutes, Tom Mathieson turned the ball home with his left foot after Matthew Herron had cut the ball across from the right. The visitors levelled just before the hour with Upton’s first of the game when he rose highest on the edge of the six yard box to nod home a high free-kick into the area. Then, a quarter-of-an-hour after that, he bagged what proved to be the winner with another close range header. The Comrades players protested vehemently that an Annagh player had been standing in an offside position in front of Jack Ferguson, blocking the ‘keeper’s view, but after a long consultation with his assistant the referee let the goal stand. As time ticked away the hosts began to exert some pressure; five minutes into injury-time, what looked a clear goal was not given. Ian Fletcher got free on the left and played a ball into Andrew Mooney who shot from 10 yards. The Annagh ‘keeper appeared to have spilled the ball well over the line and then clawed it back, but the referee and his assistant at that end didn’t agree and no goal was given. Speaking after the game, Paul Harbinson was encouraged by his side’s “good performance levels in what was a really tough day for football”. He also made clear his “disappointment in the decisions that went against us. I’m not one to complain about decisions but today I am. Unfortunately we put ourselves in a place where we allowed those decisions to count and we need to learn from that.” On tomorrow’s upcoming fixture against Carrick, the manager said “It’s a derby, we have to just look at it as a local derby, everybody should be up for it and it shouldn’t take any motivation. It’s a longstanding rivalry between the two clubs and I’d like to think we go into it with heart and fire in our bellies and that’s what the Irish Cup is all about.”

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met in a competitive fixture was back in November 2018 in the Championship. The Comrades fell to a comprehensive 4-1 home defeat to Carrick on the day. Smith opened the scoring for the visitors as early as the 3rd minute when his free-kick from a central position 22 yards out split the wall and fired past the unsighted Ben Fry. The home side reacted well to this disastrous start and were soon back on level terms. Adam Gray produced a superb run down the middle and surged into the box, where he linked up with Jamie Willighan, receiving a return pass before firing the ball low into the net from 11 yards. The men in red were buoyed by this goal and looked like they could make a game of it, but defensive frailty struck again on 20 minutes to gift Carrick the lead. The visitors got in much too easily, attacking down the left and penetrating the box, where Dean Youle was forced to slide in with a desperate tackle, conceding a penalty. Smith stepped up to calmly convert the spot-kick. The home side continued to look vulnerable at the back and in the 34th minute they conceded another penalty. This time it was Curtis Woods adjudged to have fouled and Smith again stepped up to take aim from the spot. Ben Fry made an excellent save to deny him his hat-trick, but Carrick’s Kelly was quickest to react to the loose ball, slotting it in from inside the 6-yard box. In the 63rd minute the destination of the points was put beyond reasonable doubt when Carrick scored a fourth goal.  A Neale corner was headed in from 4 yards by Kelly, giving Fry no chance. Tempers boiled over in the 73rd minute. An incident involving Dean Youle and Carrick’s Murray ended with both players receiving a red card.

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Pre-Match Guide | Annagh United 01/01/22

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

Match Info

When: Saturday 1st January – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Dixon Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

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

Match Sponsor – Agnew, Mitchell & Cairns Accountants

Ball Sponsor – Ross’s Joint

The Opponents

Annagh United have been flying recently and currently occupy 2nd spot in the Lough 41 Championship table. Their fixture at the beginning of the week vs Loughgall had to be postponed in line with the NIFL’s covid case policy. The last time Annagh played was away to Dundela on 18th December where Stephen Murray bagged both goals as Annagh United brought Dundela’s recent good run of form to a halt at Wilgar Park. Scoreless at the break, Murray opened the scoring with just over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when he ran onto Peter Duffin’s pass to slot past Marc Matthews. Then, with three minutes remaining, Murray brought his tally for the season to nine goals to complete the scoring.

The Comrades

The Comrades put an end to their long run without a league win with a victory against league leaders Newry City on a foggy day in the border town on Monday. After an even opening period when Comrades were able to get forward on a number of occasions, the hosts began to dominate possession, although they were largely frustrated in the first half by some resolute defending from the visitors. In the 37th minute the visitors stunned the large holiday home crowd with a superb goal to take the lead. Lee McCune surged forward from left-back and then played a ball across which deflected into the path of Ciaran Heggarty. The young striker had his back to goal 25 yards out but produced a wonderful turn and shot which saw the ball dip over the outstretched hand of the ‘keeper and under the bar. The second half saw the Comrades defend well all over the pitch as they proved very difficult to break down and the visitors held out gallantly in the final minutes to secure a morale-boosting win and send the travelling supporters home happy. The result keeps the Comrades in 8th position in the Lough 41 Championship table as they chase the tight pack above. Speaking on tomorrow’s upcoming fixture, manager Paul Harbinson said “They (Annagh) are flying again. We’ll focus and prepare and fingers crossed we’ll get another result”.

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met was back in October when the Comrades came away from the BMG Arena with a 4-1 victory. Liam Hassin opened the scoring for the visitors as early as the sixth minute after Andrew Mooney had done well to tee him up. Mooney got on the scoresheet himself on 19 minutes with a close range finish after a Gary Donnelly caused confusion in the home defence. Annagh pulled one back midway through the first half when unfortunate Comrades defender Ashton McDermott headed the ball into his own net whilst attempting to clear Lee Upton’s flick from Craig Taylor’s long throw into the box. However the Comrades restored their two goal lead just after the hour through Ian Fletcher before, with four minutes remaining, Ciaran Heggarty added a fourth from six yards after Hassin knocked the ball into his path.

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Pre-Match Guide | Newry City 27/12/21

We travel to Newry Showgrounds tomorrow afternoon to take on Newry City in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

When: Monday 27th December – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Newry Showgrounds

What: Lough 41 Championship

Entry: Pay at the gate – £8 (Adult) / £5 (Concession) / U12 FREE

The Opponents

Newry are flying high at the moment and currently occupy top spot in the Lough 41 Championship table. Last week, a Daniel Hughes goal proved enough for leaders Newry City to defeat bottom of the table Queen’s University at The Dub. Hughes squeezed the ball past keeper Conan Doherty at the right post to maintain an eight point lead at the top for Darren Mullen’s side after they had been held by the Students for almost an hour.

The Comrades

Last week, Ards proved too strong for the Comrades as they swept to a 4-2 victory at Dixon Park. Ards might have moved in front as early as the opening minute when presented with a penalty but Kyle Calderwood’s spot-kick was saved by Jack Ferguson. The deadlock was broken on ten minutes, however, when Ciaran Heggarty nodded Ballyclare in front from Ian Fletcher’s free-kick. However, two goals in quick succession midway through the first half tipped the balance in Ards’ favour. Conall McGrandles levelled on 21 minutes with a header from Patrick Cafolla’s corner before, four minutes after that, Ross Arthurs made it 2-1 with a finish in off an upright. Ards further extended their advantage just before the hour when Cafolla found the net but Ballyclare came back into proceedings on 73 minutes through Chris Ramsey’s header from Ashton McDermott’s cross. But Salou Jallow made sure of the points for Ards deep into stoppage time after rounding Ferguson to calmly slot home. The result saw the Comrades drop to 8th position in the Lough 41 Championship table. Speaking on tomorrow’s upcoming fixture, Paul Harbinson explained how the Comrades must “try so hard to put away the narrative of where we are and just focus on the game to see what we can get from it.”

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met was back in September when the Comrades secured a narrow 1-0 victory over table-toppers Newry at Dixon Park. Scoreless at the break, the only goal of the game came seven minutes into the second half through Gary Donnelly who finished on the half volley from six yards out after Tom Mathieson had teed the ball up.

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Pre-Match Guide | Ards 18/12/21

We return home tomorrow afternoon as the Comrades welcome Ards to Dixon Park in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

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

Where: Dixon Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

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

Match Sponsor – Ballyclare Radiator Services

Ball Sponsor – Country Diner Catering

The Opponents

Ards currently occupy 6th spot in the Lough 41 Championship. Last week, they travelled to Blanchflower Park where they were defeated 2-1 by HW Welders. Scott Davidson opened the scoring for the Welders on 28 minutes when, on the counter, he got on the end of a low driven ball across the box to smash the finish past Brian Neeson. The Welders then doubled their advantage early in the second through substitute Matthew Henry after Davidson found him in space inside the area to beat Neeson at the near post. Ards managed to pull one back on 78 minutes after Salou Jallow found Paddy Cafolla on the edge of the area who then turned and sent a clinical strike past Ben McCauley from 12 yards, but the Welders done enough to hang on to all 3 points.

The Comrades

Two goals midway through the second half saw Dergview defeat Ballyclare Comrades at Darragh Park last week. Scoreless at the break, the Comrades came close to open the scoring on a number of occasions. Ciaran Heggarty flashed a header just wide early on before turning provider to tee up Gary Donnelly to send a 20-yard effort the wrong side of the target. Heggarty continued to be a threat, with another header coming from a Lee McCune cross while, early in the second half, he twice tested Dergview keeper Alan Buchanan albeit with no success. However, that all counted for nothing on 67 minutes when the home side moved in front courtesy of Cathal Farren’s successfully converted spot-kick. Then, just six minutes after that, it was 2-0 after a good team move teed Matthew Kirk up to beat Richard Purcell with a sublime finish. The result sees the Comrades drop to 8th position in the Lough 41 Championship for the first time this season. Speaking on tomorrow’s fixture, Paul Harbinson is looking forward to “getting back home again and feeling the buzz of our hometown, feeling the buzz of our home community. We’re all in this together and we will get there.”

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met. Ards stormed to a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Clandeboye Park back in September. Ards opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when a ball played into the box wasn’t cleared by the Comrades and fell to Cafolla who drilled an excellent finish into the net from the edge of the box. On 42 minutes, the hosts doubled their lead; a well-worked move opened up the Comrades defence and created the chance for Arthurs to blast an unstoppable finish past Jack Ferguson from 16 yards. Ards finished off a deserved win with another goal late in the game. Comrades were exposed by a quick break up-field which beat the offside trap and the ball was played low into the box by Jallow, setting up McCurry to finish from 10 yards.

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Pre-Match Guide | Dergview 11/12/21

It’s back to league action as we travel to Darragh Park tomorrow afternoon to take on Dergview in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

When: Saturday 11th December – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Darragh Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

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

The Opponents

Dergview currently occupy 9th spot in the Lough 41 Championship. A win tomorrow would see them leapfrog the Comrades who are just 2 points ahead in 7th. Last week, a Darren Murray second half hat-trick saw HW Welders defeat Dergview 3-1 at Blanchflower Park. Scoreless at the break, Murray fired the Welders in front just short of the hour mark with a great finish. Jamie Browne levelled for Dergview on 69 minutes with a chipped finish past Ben McCauley into the corner of the net. The Welders were reduced to ten men on 78 minutes after Michael McLellan picked up his second booking in the space of few minutes for unsporting behaviour. However, the home side responded positively and duly moved back into the lead with a couple of minutes remaining with Murray’s second of the afternoon … and the same player followed that up with his hat-trick goal deep into stoppage time.

The Comrades

It’s been a rough patch for the Comrades of late. Without a win in their last 7 league outings, things didn’t get much easier as they suffered a heavy 8-0 defeat to East Antrim rivals, Larne, during the week in the Semi Final of the ToalsBet.com Co Antrim Shield. It was always going to be a tough task against the full-time Danske Bank Premiership side, but a goal inside the first 5 minutes, followed by two individual errors sent the Comrades in at half-time 3-0 down. The second half saw Larne even more dominant, with their constant movement and extra fitness bamboozling a tiring Comrades team and the Larne men went on to score 5 more to see out a thumping victory. Despite a difficult night and difficult patch, Paul Harbinson spoke after the game about how it’s time to “lift ourselves, take the shackles off, stop with all of the pressure talk, just focus on our jobs and get back to this group of players who want to play for each other. Even after (the Larne match), the players grouped together, they’re in it together and we’re fighting for each other”.

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met in October, an Andrew Mooney double helped Ballyclare Comrades defeat Dergview at Darragh Park. Scoreless at the break, both goals came midway through the second half. The 24-year-old opened the scoring on 63 minutes with a back post header six yards out after Tom Mathieson had knocked the ball over following a mazy run. And Mooney doubled his tally just five minutes later when, following a botched attempt at a clearance, he dispossessed a defender to tuck the ball past keeper Alan Buchanan. Benny Igiehon pulled one back for Dergview with ten minutes remaining but it wasn’t enough to spark a late comeback.

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Pre-Match Guide | Larne 7/12/21

We travel to Inver Park Park tomorrow evening to take on Larne in the ToalsBet.com Co Antrim Shield Semi-Final.

Match Info

When: Tuesday 7th December – Kick-Off 7:45pm

Where: Inver Park

What: ToalsBet.com Co Antrim Shield Semi-Final

Entry: TICKET ONLY. No cash gate will be available. Comrades fans will be in the McKay Stand at Inver Park, and tickets priced at £10 adult and £6 concession are available at the link below:

https://embed.futureticketing.ie/c/larne-fc/event/7f4a35c8-62e2-4089-860c-322f1d369c4b?fbclid=IwAR1e0pGFLGeJ733HkVcWXvJh3uP3Un_tbNEB290hCON-76MddhKu_1UiOHg

The Opponents

Larne are currently sitting 4th in the Danske Bank Premiership, just 4 points off top spot. Last week, Three second half goals helped Larne eventually get past Warrenpoint Town at Inver Park. The game got off to a bright start with chances at both ends inside the opening couple of minutes. Ben Doherty fired just over from a David McDaid cut back for Larne while, for ‘Point, Kealan Dillon sent the ball a little too high. That trend continued with Alan O’Sullivan being denied by Michael Argyrides with Ronan Hale then seeing an effort blocked soon after. Then, midway through the first half, Conor Mitchell made a point blank save from Doherty before ‘Point responded with a Thomas Maguire deflected shot dropping narrowly off target. Larne moved in front on 48 minutes courtesy of Albert Watson’s back post header after he broke free to connect with Doherty’s corner from the right. McDaid then made it 2-0 six minutes after that after running onto a Mark Randall through ball to keep his composure to slot past Mitchell. And Larne’s third arrived with 20 minutes remaining after Hale combined with Tomas Cosgrove to fire into the bottom corner.

The Comrades

Friday night saw Dundela sweep to a three-goal victory over the Comrades at Wilgar Park. The visitors started on the front foot, enjoying plenty of possession during the opening exchanges but they fell behind on 19 minutes when Jay Magee found the net with a header from a corner. Ballyclare attempted to work their way back into the game with Liam Hassin and Joe Tully both testing Marc Matthews but the home keeper proved equal to every challenge thrown at him. Still trailing, Ballyclare upped the tempo after the break and came close early on when Tully saw a header deflected over the bar. Liam McKenna then connected with a Ciaran Dobbin cross but, again, this went over as did another Tully effort on the hour. Then, with ten minutes remaining, Ballyclare were awarded a spot-kick but it was an evening when Matthews was proving unbeatable as he made the save from Chris Ramsey. That proved to be a decisive moment when the Duns immediately broke down the other end and doubled their advantage through Jordan Hughes before, with three minutes remaining, David McMaster made sure by turning home number three for Niall Currie’s side. The result keeps the Comrades in 7th spot in the Lough 41 Championship.

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met was in October 2020 in the first round of this very same competition. Albert Watson opened the scoring at Inver Park in the 20th minute after Jack Ferguson had saved the initial header from a Larne corner, Watson followed in with the rebound. Dean Jarvis doubled Larne’s lead in the 72nd minute when a heavily deflected free-kick left ‘keeper Ferguson no chance. That was how it stayed as Larne ran out 2-0 winners and progressed to the next round.

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Pre-Match Guide | Dundela 3/12/21

We travel to Wilgar Park tomorrow evening to take on Dundela in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

When: Friday 3rd December – Kick-Off 7:45pm

Where: Wilgar Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

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

The Opponents

Dundela currently occupy 11th spot in the Lough 41 Championship. Last week, they battled to an equal share of the goals against Newry City in difficult conditions at a blustery Wilgar Park. James Teelan opened the scoring for Newry after eight minutes. He got on the end of a touch forward to flick the ball past Kyle Owens and beat Marc Matthews with a near post right foot finish. The Duns levelled almost immediately, however, through Guillaume Keke with a half volley from point blank range after a Tony Kane free-kick from wide on the right had been knocked on inside the box. And the frantic start continued with a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock when Johnny Taylor fired the home side into the lead from another Kane set piece, a corner on this occasion, after the ball fell loose from Jay Magee’s initial header had been well kept out by Steven Maguire. That was how it stayed until four minutes from the hour when Darren King levelled for Newry to ultimately secure a share of the spoils.

The Comrades

Last week, the Comrades staged a late comeback to recover a two-goal deficit and salvage a point from HW Welders at Blanchflower Park. The Welders moved in front on 38 minutes through Alan McMurtry who smashed the ball home from eight yards after receiving a low cross from the left. Josh Boyd doubled the home advantage on 67 minutes with a back post finish when the ball was played across the box into his path. But Ballyclare pulled a goal back just five minutes after that through Liam Hassin with a 25-yard effort into the top corner after a set piece was only partially cleared. And the Comrades secured a point with four minutes left on the clock when Matthew Herron found the net from Tom Mathieson’s cross. The draw keeps the Comrades in 7th spot in the Lough 41 Championship on 27 points.

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met at the beginning of October, Ballyclare Comrades defeated Dundela by a single first half goal at Dixon Park. The Comrades crafted the first chance of the night after nine minutes when Chris Ramsey sent a header from a Liam McKenna corner onto the crossbar before the ball fell to safety. What proved to be the winner came with just over a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock after a mix-up in the Dundela defence allowed Andy Mooney to set up McKenna to score from a tap in. The rest of the game was an entertaining, end to end encounter but Ballyclare held on to secure all three points although keeper Richard Purcell had to be alert in the closing minutes to thwart a header from Guillaume Keke as the visitors searched for an equaliser.

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Pre-Match Guide | Harland & Wolff Welders 27/11/21

We travel to Blanchflower Park tomorrow afternoon to take on Harland & Wolff Welders in our next Lough 41 Championship fixture.

Match Info

When: Saturday 27th November – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Blanchflower Park

What: Lough 41 Championship

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

The Opponents

The Welders currently occupy 6th position in the Lough 41 Championship, just 2 points ahead of the Comrades. Last Saturday saw the Welders just pipped by Annagh United in a 5-goal thriller at Blanchflower Park. The Welders moved in front on 17 minutes through Alan McMurtry after Annagh keeper Eoin Hughes fumbled his shot before dropping it over the line. Annagh levelled just after the half-hour mark when Ruairi McDonald sent over a cross which Stephen Murray rose to head past Ben McCauley. McMurtry restored home advantage just before the break with a near post finish but, nine minutes into the second half, Annagh levelled again after Murray cut the ball back for Lee Upton to touch home. However, the visitors moved in front for the first time with what proved to be the winner on 62 minutes after Murray again turned provider to tee up Craig Taylor to beat McCauley for a third time.

The Comrades

Despite last Saturday’s much-improved performance compared to recent weeks, the Comrades came home from their trip to Fermanagh with nothing to show. The deadlock was broken on 32 minutes when a corner was played to the back post where Morris got his head to the ball directing it back across goal. Richard Purcell stuck his leg out to block it, but the ball rebounded off him and into the net. The second half saw the visitors largely making the running, but it was not to be Comrades’ day and this was clear a minute into injury-time when Matthew Herron got onto a high ball down the middle and hit a shot from just outside the box only to see it take a deflection and strike the bar. The result keeps the Comrades in 7th position in the Lough 41 Championship. Following the game, manager Paul Harbinson was feeling “upbeat” as he felt “the team came together and put in a much-improved performance”.  

Last Time Out

The last time these two sides met was back in August where the Comrades ran out 1-0 winners at Dixon Park. With the opening 85 minutes of the game being goalless, the game looked to be heading to a deadlocked finish until Liam McKenna cut into the box from the left and struck an unstoppable shot from 14 yards which rifled into the roof of the net to the delight of the home supporters. This proved to be the winner as the hosts comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to seal the victory.