CHAMPIONSHIP 1: Comrades target home win over Celtic

Institute's Gareth Brown and Ballyclare's Darren Docherty tussle for the ball during last Saturday's 1-1 draw at The Riverside Stadium, Drumahoe.
Institute's Gareth Brown and Ballyclare's Darren Docherty tussle for the ball during last Saturday's 1-1 draw at The Riverside Stadium, Drumahoe.

Ballyclare Comrades fans are hoping that the sequence of draws will be replaced by a home victory against Lurgan Celtic this weekend.

If David Dorrian’s lads succeed in winning this one they will leap-frog the County Armagh lads towards a spot in the top half of the Championship 1 table.

“This should be a close one, with Celtic three points above us in the table,” said Dorrian, “but recently we have been conceding few goals in the league, so hopefully with home advantage we will collect full points.”

Celtic, just promoted, have settled in well in Championship 1, where like Comrades they have been a little goal-shy, with only nine scored in seven outings, so goals could be in short supply at Dixon Park.

Reflecting on this, Dorrian stated: “Last season we conceded too many goals, so my priority has been building from the back and I am happy with the progress we are making.

“Week by week, striker Chris Trussell is working towards full fitness and when he is on song, the goals will come.

“Losing Joel Cooper to Glenavon was a major blow, but Michael O’Hanlon has settled in nicely after arriving from Crusaders and he is filling Joel’s boots very well down the left flank. He always poses a threat and has scored a couple of important goals and I think there are more to come from him.”

Defenders William Wharry, injured, and Chris Getty, suspended, will miss the Celtic clash, but the Reds have ample cover in this department. Anthony Hill and Michael McQuitty are vying for inclusion in the back four, while McQuitty and Curtis Woods, who normally play at left back, are equally at home in central defensive positions.

Asked about Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Institute, Dorrian said: “We started promisingly but we failed to put away two good chances and then at the death we had strong claims for a penalty denied when Chris Trussell was chopped down from behind. But overall I was happy to settle for a draw.

“Our ‘keeper Gregg Shannon continues to inspire confidence at the back and he pulled off two marvellous saves and I was pleased to get encouragement from their manager Kevin Deery, who said that we made his team work harder than most this season.”