Comrades on track for February clean sweep

ON THE MARK: Ballyclare striker Mark Wilkinson battles for the ball against Killymoon. Photo: Simon Robinson
ON THE MARK: Ballyclare striker Mark Wilkinson battles for the ball against Killymoon. Photo: Simon Robinson

FOUR down and one to go. That’s Ballyclare Comrades’ position in their quest to complete a February clean sweep.

Eddie Hill’s lads are bang on course to win all five February fixtures boosting their Championship 2 promotion prospects.

Victories against Moyola Park, Portstewart, PSNI and a 6-1 thrashing of Killymoon Rangers on Saturday leave only this weekend’s opponents, Annagh United, capable of stopping a five-in-a-row run

“The Annagh match will be the most difficult of the month,” Hill told the Times. “They have several players with Premiership experience, including Shay Campbell the former Ballymena United and Linfield striker, so this will be a massive challenge.

“We beat them 3-1 at Dixon Park, and they will be going all out for revenge, and I think I will have a few selection problems owing to players being unavailable for a variety of reasons.

“On Saturday against Killymoon we were without Craig Reid, Chris Getty, Chris Monteith, Gary Brown, Ross Earley and the captain Ricky Higgins. Some of them are likely to out for the trip to Annagh.

“We only had four subs on the bench and that included me and my assistant-manager, Stuart McClean. Thankfully, I did not have to appear, but Stuarty got a short run-out.

“Killymoon are one of the weaker teams so we coasted to an easy win after establishing an early 2-0 lead.

“We were four up at the break, and although the tempo lowered in the second half we still managed to score two more. But Paddy Flood was disappointed not to have registered another clean sheet.

“On the 3G surface I took the precaution of bringing off Simon McGowan and Andrew Doyle; both have been carrying knocks and I didn’t want to risk them any more than necessary on the plastic surface, but they should both be fine for this weekend.

“We now have a big squad with cover in all departments, so players who miss out know they will have a fight on their hands to regain the jersey.

“It was good to have Glenn Pierce, Evan Forsythe and Kyle Buckley to come is as straight replacements for Reid, Getty and Monteith, while Mark Wilkinson had his first start since joining us from the Welders.

“Unfortunately the match was marred by the Killymoon goalie having to be taken to hospital. Play had to be suspended for about 20 minutes pending the arrival of an ambulance.

“None of our players were involved, but all associated with Ballyclare Comrades hope that he will make a full recovery,” stated Eddie.

Meanwhile, Ricky Higgins received the January Player of the Month trophy sponsored by the Comrades Supporters’ Club. Defender Aaron Montgomery has left Dixon Park to link up with Amateur League side Nortel.