FOOTBALL: Comrades shares spoils with Celtic

Ballyclare's Stuart McCullough brings the ball out of defence against Lurgan Celtic. INLT 16-910-CON Ballyclare's Stuart McCullough brings the ball out of defence against Lurgan Celtic. INLT 16-910-CON Photo: Tim Duff
Ballyclare's Stuart McCullough brings the ball out of defence against Lurgan Celtic. INLT 16-910-CON Ballyclare's Stuart McCullough brings the ball out of defence against Lurgan Celtic. INLT 16-910-CON Photo: Tim Duff

Strikes by Chris Trussell and Jason Johnston earned Ballyclare Comrades a priceless Championship 1 point at Knockramer Park, where both teams finished with 10 men.

Full-back Curtis Woods got his marching orders for preventing a certain score, while Sean Devlin also got a straight red card for a high tackle on Adam McCart.

Lurgan Celtic opened the scoring through Aaron Haire, but the Comrades turned round one up, only for the hosts to secure a division of the spoils.

Neither keeper was tested in a quiet first quarter but the Hoops went ahead on the half hour when Haire netted from close range.

However, seven minutes later it was all square again when Trussell collected a Mark Shannon throw-in, out-muscled his marker and fired a rocket into the far top corner of the net.

Trussell turned provider just before the interval when he played in Johnston who drilled the ball into the bottom corner, well beyond the reach of keeper O’Neill.

Celtic upped the tempo after the break and drew level in the 55th minute when Flood had the misfortune to punch the ball in to his own net and this heralded a period of home pressure.

Flood saved from Fitzpatrick and Barton with the Comrades’ only attack ending with Trussell firing wide.

When Woods brought Haire down near halfway in the 65th minute, the referee invoked the last man rule and produced a straight red card for the defender.

The hosts used their numerical superiority to mount several attacks, forcing Flood to deny Haire, Fitzpatrick and Lavery in the final quarter before home defender Devlin was dismissed in the 86th minute.

It was now 10 against 10, but in injury time Flood was the hero again when his out-stretched leg denied Haire.

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; Woods, McCart, McQuitty, Shannon; Dobbin, McCullough; O’Hanlon, Johnston, Haskins (McDermott 46); Trussell. Subs not used: Crowe, Getty, Simpson, Hill.

Next up: Dergview (a).