There may be other East Antrim clubs such as Kilroot Rec and Newington Rangers in Division 1C, but in local terms, the real derby is the meeting of 18th Newtownabbey and Mossley FC who will lock horns on Saturday at Cloyne Crescent.
There is some added spice in that Mossley are managed by the man who stepped down at 18th Newtownabbey last November, Garry Campbell. Current Newtownabbey boss Michael Jamison was a player under Campbell and other former ‘old boys’ include 18th’s leading marksman last season, Ricky Moore, along with Terry Lyness, Paul Harper, Lee Garrett and Trevor Young.
However, almost a year has passed now since Campbell stepped down at 18th. “I’ve already come up against them last season, in a 1-1 draw,” he said. “I don’t think there is any bad blood over the way we left, it will just be a good local ding-dong. It will be a tight enough game. Michael has picked up a few players and they’re doing rightly. It will be tight enough down there. Hopefully it will be a decent day with a decent crowd.”
Opposite number Jamison also expects a close encounter. “This is our real derby,” he said. “The return of Garry Campbell adds a bit of spice to it but it’s always been a feisty enough match. There were two tight games last season and I don’t think this one will be any different. It will come down to who wants it the most. I know Garry will have his side pumped up for it!”
Both sides have strengthened since last season, with Mossley second in 1c, while 18th are 10th. In such derbies, form goes out the window. Two years ago, 18th, managed by Campbell just lost once in the league after Christmas – to Mossley FC!