Captain fantastic Duff nets winner against Brantwood

Ballynure captain Michael Duff. INLT 51-415-RM
Ballynure captain Michael Duff. INLT 51-415-RM

Skipper Michael Duff was Ballynure Old Boys’ hero when he bagged an injury-time winner against Brantwood.

The hosts turned round one up at Skegoneill Avenue but David Higgins restored parity on the hour, and Duff (inset) secured the points to keep Gary Burns’ lads in Ballymena Premier League pole position.

Higgins crashed one against the post early on but against the run of play Brantwood forged ahead when a cross in to the box was only partially cleared.

Higgins, who was outstanding at right midfield, deservedly equalised early in the second session, when his solo run ended with a low shot in to the bottom corner.

In added time Duff got the winner when Brantwood keeper Dempster uncharacteristically dropped a Jackie Todd cross, allowing the midfielder to fire the ball in to the roof of the net from the edge of the six yards box.

Burns said: “Overall, I thought we controlled the game and were worthy winners. Considering we hadn’t played for eight weeks it was a great win against one of the top teams on their own patch.

The win keeps Ballynure four points ahead of Newtowne at the top of the table.

This Saturday Ballynure have an O’Gorman Cup local derby clash with Rathcoole at Mossley.

n In Junior Division One, Ballyclare Comrades Reserves boosted their goal difference with the thumping 6-0 whitewash of Desertmartin Swifts.

Jason Johnstone bagged a brace, as did Scott Cummings, with Bobby Crowe and Luke Fenton completing the rout.

“Both teams coped well with the muddy conditions, and when we turned round three up I asked the players to concentrate on keeping possession, and they responded well,” said manager Ronnie Burns.

Selected results

Premier Division - Brantwood 1-2 Ballynure OB.

Junior Division 1: Mallusk Athletic 3-2 Cookstown RBL; FC Whiteabbey 3- 2 Sport & Leisure II; Cookstown Olympic 9- 1 Carnmoney FC; Comrades Reserves 6-0 Desertmartin Swifts.

Junior Division 3: Castle Star 0- 1 3rd Ballyclare OB; Red Star 1 -3 Carnlough Swifts.

Canada Trophy R2: Whitehead Rangers 2-3 Brantwood Res.