FOLLOWING an insipid display in the previous match, Ballyclare Comrades manager Eddie Hill demanded a performance against Lurgan Celtic - and he got one, writes George Brown.
Celtic are one of the promotion favourites, but the new-look home side turned in one of their best performances of the season with Hill coming off the bench to net the decisive goal in a 2-1 win.
Hill was full of praise for his side: “The lads were all bitterly disappointed after the home defeat to Ballymoney, and they put their hands up to accept responsibility.
“They knew that they had let the fans down and that maximum effort would be required against one of the top teams.
“They knew that I intended to make changes, so there was evidence of renewed effort being put in at the Tuesday and Thursday training sessions.
“In order to freshen things up I introduced new personnel and made positional changes, and especially in the first half we were on top.
“Defensively, we were strong with Evan Forsythe and Andrew Doyle in splendid form at the heart of the defence, while Allen Huxley continues to be an excellent stand-in for Paddy Flood.
“Stuart McClean, Gary Bell and I are constantly reminding the players that they can’t expect results if they don’t put in the hard work, and on this occasion they delivered the goods,” he said.
However, Hill was disappointed at losing his skipper, Ricky Higgins, for this Saturday’s trip to Ballymoney. Higgins was sent off after picking up two yellow cards.
“We have lost our leading striker with a Steel and Sons Cup quarter-final in the pipeline, and we can only hope that he will not be suspended for that one,” said Hill.
“But we will be going all out for revenge against Ballymoney United this weekend.
“They beat us 2-0 at Dixon Park a week ago, but we didn’t turn up on that occasion, so we will not be satisfied with anything less than three points from this return league fixture,” he said.