Ballyclare Comrades’ shock Irish Cup defeat to Crumlin Star took the shine off the feelgood factor that’s been around Dixon Park of late.
Officials, players and fans had been hoping to progress to round five with the possibility of landing a lucrative pairing with one of the Belfast team, but plucky Crumlin Star put paid to their dreams.
“It was disappointing result,” said manager David Dorrian. “Crumlin turned round one up and then defended across their 18-yard line in the second half when it was one-way traffic. Jonah Nicholl hardly touched the ball, while their keeper was much busier.
“We had numerous chances to equalise and then press for the winner, but it wasn’t to be.”
Asked about his team formation, he continued: “We started off with the usual 4-4-2 line-up, but after half an hour our two full-backs were off injured – Darren Doherty with a hamstring problem, and Michael McQuitty with a calf injury. Their replacements, Gary Brown and Curtis Woods, fitted in well with no change in the shape of the team until the final quarter. At that stage we changed to 3-5-2 in an attempt to get the equaliser that we would have deserved.
“Full credit to Crumlin Star; they are a typical strong physical Amateur League team, who concentrated on closing us down and the heavy conditions underfoot didn’t suit our style of play. The pitch looked a dream before kick-off, but the soft top layer soon began to cut up, resulting in passes going astray with very few fluid movements.”
Concerning Kyle Woods’ debut, Dorrian observed: “Kyle is one of several who have impressed with the Reserves and he put himself about when he replaced Eddie Hill for the last 20 minutes. He has potential, and is one to watch. He got himself in to position for a couple of half-chances, but was unable to force the ball over the line.
“Overall we had enough chances to win the game, but defeat ended our winning sequence, so we will have to start from scratch again, and set about stringing together another few wins, starting with Carrick Rangers Reserves this weekend,” he ended.
This Intermediate Cup tie will be at Dixon Park (3 pm), and manager Dorrian hopes all three injured players will be available for selection.