Comrades set to face leaders Dundela

Back from suspension: Andrew Doyle.
Back from suspension: Andrew Doyle.

Ballyclare take on Championship 1 leaders Dundela this weekend. The East Belfast men have won all three fixtures to date with an impressive 13-1 goals ratio, so Eddie Hill’s lads won’t be expecting an easy ride.

Traditionally Duns have fielded physically strong sides, suited to their compact Wilgar Park pitch, so no quarter will likely be asked or given on Saturday afternoon.

Looking forward to this clash Hill told the Times: “Dundela and the Welders are generally regarded as Belfast’s big two at intermediate level, so it is no coincidence that both are already sitting at the top of the table.

“Down trough the years the Comrades have been involved in some titanic battles at the ‘Hen Run’ so I expect that this one will be no different.

“Thankfully, except for Simon McGowan who is unavailable, we will have a full panel to select from, with skipper Andrew Doyle returning from his one-match suspension.

“Our confidence was given a boost on Saturday when we recorded our first clean sheet of the season against 1st Bangor in the Steel & Sons Cup.

“Like most Amateur League opposition, they had several experienced players who were strong in the tackle.

“Particularly in the first half they frustrated us by keeping players behind the ball, but we kept making the mistake of playing the ball in the air in the box, where their two big central defenders had the edge.

“When we injected some pace in to our attack by bringing in Connor Mulholland and Daniel Smith for Chris Trussell and Ricky Higgins we got the two goals that deservedly booked our place in the next round.

“We went into the tie without Evan Forsythe and Doyle was also out suspended. But Chris Getty came in to partner Jonny Harkness at the heart of the defence, and with Kyle Buckley returning to left-back we had a sound defensive set-up.

“The clean sheet gives us something to build on, so hopefully we will be able to end Dundela’s 100 per cent record.”