Comrades secure win away to Queen’s University
A flurry of goals in the final 20 minutes at The Dub sent Ballyclare Comrades back to south Antrim with all three points today (Saturday).
In what had been a tight affair, with few chances for either side, Ballyclare’s Liam McKenna broke the deadlock on 71 minutes with a moment of magic.
The game looked to be out of reach for ‘The Students’ when Ciaran Heggarty made it 2-0 for the Dixon Park side on 78 minutes after a well-worked move on the edge of the box.
The home side, who went into today’s Lough 41 NIFL Championship match second from bottom in the table, made it a nervy finish for Ballyclare when James Clarke found the net on 80 minutes to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Queen’s then had chances to draw the tie level, including a free kick with just minutes left on the clock.
However, it was the Ballyclare fans who would be celebrating come the final whistle as Andy Mooney scored from a follow-up effort on 90 minutes after his penalty was initially saved by the QUB ‘keeper, Danny Devine.
Ballyclare manager Paul Harbinson was full of praise for the travelling support and pleased with his side’s overall performance to see out the game.
Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times, Paul said: “We’re happy with the final result, but we’re a little frustrated as our performances have taken a wee bit of a dip.
“At the start of the season we were doing a lot of pressing and dictating games.
“I’m pleased with our second half today. Our players picked it up a bit after the first half and finished the game strongly.
“We’ve already played Queen’s this season in the first round of the League Cup and we knew what challenges they would bring to today’s match.
“Our fans were brilliant again this afternoon- they always travel in numbers and get behind the team. It’s bit of cliché, but they really are our twelfth man. Come the final whistle, the players wanted to acknowledge the dedication of the supporters. We’re a small country town club and we rely on their support.”
Today’s 3-1 win keeps the Comrades in fourth place in the table on 13 points, but after Newry City’s first defeat of the season, the early pacesetters are on 18 points, Ards in second on 16 and Annagh United, who have a three goal advantage over Ballyclare, are in third on 13.
Ballyclare welcome reigning Danske Bank Irish Premiership champions Linfield to Dixon Park on Tuesday, September 14 in the second round of the Bet McLean League Cup.
Click here to read Howard Beverland signs for Ballyclare Comrades
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