Chambers’ Comrades are best starters since 1977

FOLLOWING last season’s disappointing relegation, Ballyclare Comrades have had a whirlwind start to the new campaign (writes George Brown).

Four straight league and cup wins alerted club historians to a possible new record, and a subsequent search revealed that at least 34 years have elapsed since the feat was last performed.

My records extend to 1976 and during that time it was difficult to find even three starting wins, so Gordon Chambers’ class of 2011 will become part of the Dixon Park folklore.

A victory in Portstewart on Saturday completed the quartet, having previously disposed of Ballymoney United, Bryansburn Rangers and Wakehurst, and the focus will now be on this weekend’s Steel & Sons Cup clash with Donegal Celtic Reserves.

Reflecting on the performances to date, Chambers stressed the importance of having depth in the squad. “We have an abnormally high number of injuries so early in the season,” he said, “but we are fortunate to have several very promising players emerging from the Reserves.

“Already this season four of last season’s Second XI have been with the senior squad and on Saturday teenager Chris Boy got his first start owing to the serious ankle ligament problems of Scott Irvine.

He slotted in quite nicely in midfield and he must have been pleased with his performance.

“With Anthony Hill and Aaron Holland nursing injuries, more opportunities will open up for the emerging talent at Dixon Park.”

The manager reflected: “Against Wakehurst in midweek we rather disappointingly surrendered a two goals’ lead, but I was pleased with the character shown to stage a recovery that delivered our first home league victory of the season.

“It was different in Portstewart, where we were always in control, and with a little good fortune we could have had several more goals, but the uneven surface did not suit our favoured passing game.

“I thought that we were going to record our first clean sheet of the season, but Portstewart dashed my hopes when they got a late consolation strike.

“We now turn our attention to Saturday’s cup tie in Belfast, where we expect a close encounter with Donegal Celtic Reserves. West Belfast will be buzzing following the senior side’s win at The Oval, so although we will probably be dubbed favourites I will be guarding against complacency,” Gordon cautioned..