Simpson the hero as Comrades secure Championship safety

Ballyclare Comrades keeper Paddy Flood takes the ball out of the air to snuff out a dangerous cross in the 1-0 victory over the PSNI. INNT 16-050-GR
Ballyclare Comrades keeper Paddy Flood takes the ball out of the air to snuff out a dangerous cross in the 1-0 victory over the PSNI. INNT 16-050-GR

Andrew Simpson was the hero for Ballyclare when he bagged the goal that secured their Championship 1 status for another season.

Saturday’s 1-0 home win over PSNI clinched the crucial three points that hoisted David Dorrian’s lads of the drop zone, but left Jamesy Kirk’s side’s position uncertain.

The all-important strike came as early as the third minute, and what a soft one it was. Andrew Doyle floated a long range free-kick straight i to the heart of the penalty area where Simpson, facing his own goal, out-jumped his marker and sent his back-header looping over David Harrison, who was caught in no-man’s land.

Harrison redeemed himself moments later when he got down smartly at the near post to foil Joel Cooper.

The policemen rarely threatened. McWilliams showed some neat touches on the right, while left-back Holden’s over-lapping posed problems for Craig Reid, but Paddy Flood’s only anxious moment came when he held on to McLaughlin’s weak finish.

At the opposite end Sammy McIlveen’s free-kick flashed just wide, while Gary Brown failed to get a final touch with the goal gaping.

In the early stages of the second session, the Reds were denied possession, but the visitors’ only scoring attempt came from Moody, whose chip was confidently clutched under the bar by Flood.

In the 76th minute McWilliams neatly slipped past Reid, and headed goal-wards, but skipper Adam McCart came to the rescue with a fine tackle at the expense of a corner.

Sub Peter Duffin made an immediate impact with a cross that Trussell flicked on to Brown, but his effort was deflected for a corner.

With the visitors now operating with four forwards, gaps appeared at the back and only a brilliant diving save by Harrison in the 82nd minute prevented Trussell from doubling the lead.

The Comrades should have made sure of the points in the 89th minute but substitute Randal Reid’s header was off-target.

Boss David Dorrian said: ”Andrew Doyle and Adam McCart were outstanding at the heart of the defence, but it was avery poor game with little to get excited about.”

Ballyclare: Flood; C Reid, Doyle, McCart, Buckley; Brown, McIlveen, Kane, Cooper (Duffin 74); Simpson (McGowan 61), Trussell (R Reid 82)..