Ballyclare Comrades’ assistant-manager Gary Bell, who was in charge for yesterday’s Championship 1 match in Castlederg, shocked players and fans when he announced that he was resigning for personal reasons.
“It’s nothing to do with anyone in football or anything to do with Ballyclare or Eddie Hill, it’s the right time for me to spend more time with my family,” he said.
Don’t miss this week’s Times for more on Bell’s decision to quit as Hill’s number two.
Yesterday’s clash with Dergview produced goals galore, but no points for the Reds. Chris Trussell, Simon McGowan and Joel Cooper got their names on the scorecard, but the home side came from behind at Darragh Park to win 5-3.
With defenders Denver Gage and Andrew Doyle, along with midfielders Gary Brown and Daniel Smith missing, Bell was boosted by the return of striker Trussell and skipper Adam McCart, who linked up with Chris Getty at the heart of the defence.
The Comrades got off to a flyer when russell opened the scoring in the second minute from a Kyle Agnew pass and Samuel McIlveen almost doubled the lead from another Agnew thrust.
The introduction of home substitute McShane turned the match on its head. In the 38th minute he fired in the equaliser and seconds before the break he set it up for Higginbottom to give the hosts a half time lead.
Worse was to follow when Higginbottom doubled his tally, before an uncharacteristic lapse by Paddy Flood allowed the ball to float over his head in to the net to leave his side trailing 4-1 after an hour’s play.
The Comrades then introduced their own secret weapon, Joel Cooper, who proved to be an inspiration.
Despite being reduced to 10 men when McCart picked up his second yellow card the Reds were on fire.
Cooper’s dash into the box resulted in him being up-ended and Simon McGreevy stepped up to net from the spot.
Hopes of getting anything from the game were dashed when that man McShane popped up at the other end to make it 5-2.
However Cooper wasn’t to be denied, and he capped a brilliant performance by completing the scoring seven minutes from time with a shot that gave Boggs no chance.
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; Doherty, Getty, McCart (C), Buckley; McIlveen, McClurg, McGowan; Agnew, Trussell, Gray. Subs: Cooper for McClurg 60’, Reid for Trussell 73’, Conn for Gray 73’; not used Stuart McClean.
Comrades’ next match will be against Bangor at Dixon Park on October 4.