Super-sub Jamie McTaggart’s late winner bagged all three points for Ballyclare Comrades Reserves in a seven-goal thriller against Larne Olympic on Saturday.
The Olympic came to Threemilewater Park as Ballymena League Junior Division 1 underdogs against the reigning champions, but they had the hosts in disarray when they went in to a 2-0 lead, before losing 4-3.
During the opening quarter Jonty Watson’s lads were on the back foot, and after taking the lead in the ninth minute, Olympic forged further ahead before the locals got to grips with the game.
In the 25th minute star midfielder, Aaron Lindsay, ghosted past a couple of defenders, and then picked out Matt Boyd who rocketed the ball in to the top corner of the net.
After the interval Ballyclare began to dominate with some slick passing moves, and when Richard MacAuley was fouled in the box, Jonathan Boyd stepped up to send the keeper diving the wrong way from the spot in the 72nd minute.
With the scores now level Comrades continued to play with fluency, and from a MacAuley well placed corner skipper Pod Lynch nodded his side in to the lead for the first time.
The Larne lads threatened to spoil the party when they equalised in the 82nd minute, but young McTaggart volleyed home the winner in the final minute from a Lynch cross.
Manager Watson said: “This was an important win on an afternoon when our main title rivals, Tobermore United Reserves, only managed a draw, so we are now three points clear at the top entering the second half of the season.
“After a shaky first half we came good in the second half, and I was delighted with the performances turned in by all six of the Youth XI who took part, but once again left-sided midfielder, Aaron Lindsay, was our star performer.”
Man of the Match: Aaron Lindsay.
Ballyclare Comrades Reserves: McAllister; Lynch (C), Rainey, Lunney, Thompson; MacAuley, M Boyd, Spence, Lindsay; J Boyd, D McCallen. Subs: D McAllister, N Stranaghan, McTaggart.