Ten-man Comrades lose their fizz against Coagh

Simon McGowan was shown the red card against Coagh United on Tuesday evening.
Simon McGowan was shown the red card against Coagh United on Tuesday evening.

Relegation favourites Coagh United stormed Fortress Dixon on Tuesday evening, and made off with three precious Championship 1 points.

Coming off the weekend’s 5-0 thrashing by Bangor, the Tyrone minnows recorded only their second league victory of the season with a surprise 2-1 victory against Ballyclare Comrades.

Eddie Hill handed starting roles to promising reserve defenders Marc Rainey and Joel Cooper while energetic midfielder, Kyle Agnew, returned after being out injured for several weeks.

The turning point of the game came in the 67th minute when midfielder Simon McGowan dropped from hero to zero. After opening the scoring in the 12th minute, he picked up a straight red card when he kicked out at an opponent in retaliation.

At that stage the scores were level, Bradley having slotted in the equaliser on the stroke of half-time, following a series of corners.

The Comrades resumed for the second session with Mark Wilkinson on for Gerard McAlea, and on the hour Adam Gray, who had started up front with Johnny McClurg, charged down the keeper’s attempted clearance, but the ball rebounded agonisingly just wide of the gaping goal.

Ballyclare’s 10 men were coping well, but in the absence of ace striker, Chris Trussell, who was unavailable, the attack lacked a cutting edge, and a home goal seemed remote.

With the Reds pressing forward, they were caught short at the back in the 72nd minute, when Gillespie nodded the winner firmly past Paddy Flood.

Overall, the fans had little to get enthusiastic about, and the final whistle was a welcome relief to end a drab night’s entertainment.

This third successive league defeat was another jaded Comrades performance, and a vast improvement will be needed for Saturday’s local derby against title challengers Carrick Rangers.

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; Doherty, McCart, Rainey, Cooper; Agnew, McAlea, McGowan, Simms; McClurg, Gray. Subs: Wilkinson for McAlea 46’, Smith for Gray 62’, Young for Agnew 71’; not used Forsythe, Buckley.