Despite earning a point against league leaders H&W Welders, Ballyclare Comrades manager David Dorrian was deeply disappointed at failing to secure a win at Dixon Park.
“Even before they were reduced to nine men I thought we were the better team and after the game Welders’ manager Gary Smyth said he can’t understand why we are in the lower half of the table.
“He said we were one of the best teams they had played this season and if we continue to play with the same skill and passion we must surely climb up the table.
“I hope he is right, but this is an extremely competitive league this season, with only six points covering eight teams outside the top four.”
Reflecting on the match Dorrian continued: “It was a pulsating first half with the fans treated to five goals, but if we had defended better we could have turned round ahead instead of trailing 3-2. Young Jonah Nicholl had comparatively little to do, but some of our defending was sloppy.
“Getting the equaliser early in the second half really sparked us into top gear, with Samuel McIlveen and John Dobbin outstanding in the middle of the park. Dobbin in particular stood out – he covered every blade of grass on the pitch and kept driving us forward, and in the closing stages after they lost a second player their goal was under siege.
“We introduced all three substitutes, but Michael Dougherty was in inspired form in the Welders goal, and pulled off five or six excellent saves. How he managed to push Chris Trussell’s downwards header round the base of the post I will never know, while Gary Brown side-footed one over the bar at the back post. In a hectic finish defenders’ bodies were put on the line, and the ball was scrambled off the line, but we just couldn’t get what would have been a deserved winner,” he observed.
“This point following a win in Bangor means that we have collected four points from six, so we must keep the momentum going,” he stressed.
Looking forward to this week’s clash with bottom-of-the-table Donegal Celtic the manager said: “There is no point in taking a point off the leaders, and then failing to see off a struggling outfit. We will start favourites at Suffolk Road, but it has not been a happy hunting ground for us in recent seasons, so we must guard against complacency.
“We will be strengthened with the return of striker Randal Reid, who had work commitments for the Welders game.”