CHAMPIONSHIP 1: Bangor 4 Comrades 0

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Conceding three unanswered first-half goals practically ensured Ballyclare Comrades would leave Clandeboye Park empty-handed on Tuesday evening.

Eddie Hill’s lads were rather fortunate not to be further behind at that stage, and whatever plans were hatched during the interval were left in tatters when Bangor added a fourth within two minutes of the restart.

So, the Seasiders enhanced their Championship 1 credentials with this impressive 4-0 win, while the Reds will be struggling to finish in the top half of the table following five consecutive defeats.

With March Player of the Month Adam McCart unavailable, Evan Forsythe was drafted in to partner Chris Getty at the heart of the defence. Hill also continued with his 4-2-3-1 formation, with Chris Trussell ploughing a lone furrow up front.

With the Reds taking some time to adapt to the 3G pitch, the hosts dominated during the early stages but Comrades were first to threaten when a Getty header from an Andy Simms corner flashed just wide.

Five minutes later Bangor opened the scoring in controversial circumstances. The referee awarded the hosts an indirect free-kick inside the box, when he ruled that keeper Paddy Flood had picked up the ball from a deliberate back-pass. Grant Gardiner rolled the ball to Mark Cooling he drilled it into the net.

Stung in to action, the Comrades responded with a Daniel Smith effort that Gibbons managed to palm out to Darren Doherty, but he slipped as he was about to shoot and the chance was lost.

On the half-hour midfielder Ethan Boylan picked up a loose ball and burst through the centre of the defence to double the lead. And when former Reds’ favourite, Andy Long rifled one into the top corner of the net in the 37th minute, the writing was well and truly on the wall.

Three up was no more than Bangor deserved and when half-time substitute Stephen O’Neill increased the lead with his first touch in the 47th minute, the travelling band of supporters were silenced.

However the players didn’t give up and a Smith effort shaved the upright, while one of Comrades’ best moves of the evening ended with Gibbons pulling off a stunning save to deny Simms.

Three minutes from time Trussell almost prevented the whitewash when Gibbons and a defender collided in the box, but the ace striker’s shot was hooked off the line by a defender.

So, it’s five straight defeats and Comrades will have to pull out all the stops on Saturday to stop the rot in Loughgall.

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood (c); Doherty, Getty, Forsythe, Cooper; McAlea, Young; Smith, McClurg, Simms; Trussell. Subs: Gray for Young 46, McGowan for McAlea 60, Buckley for Doherty 67; not used Wilkinson and Agnew.