A WILGAR Park whitewash brought home the realities of playing in Championship 1 to players of Ballyclare Comrades.
Last season’s promotion party is nothing but a distant memory, and now it’s down to the nitty-gritty of grinding out points at the higher level.
Dundela turned round two up and then added another without reply to cement their pole position, while Comrades dropped to the foot of the table with only one point from a possible nine.
The Comrades had an early scare when Cherry drilled the ball against the near post with Paddy Flood beaten, but once the Reds settled they began to pose problems for the defence.
In the 15th minute Chris Monteith made ground down the right before crossing to Andy Simms, but his effort flashed wide. Simms was in action again, picking out Chris Trussell, but he blasted over when a score seemed likely.
During the next 20 minutes the points were effectively settled when Comrades conceded two goals by failing to close down opponents. McComb opened the scoring from the edge of the box, and then in the 28th minute former Glentoran man Michael Halliday doubled the lead.
Seconds before the break only a last-ditch tackle by Monteith prevented Burns from increasing the lead.
A revitalised Comrades resumed full of fire and on the hour midfielder Gerard McAlea almost pulled one back with a drive that fizzed past the post.
But soon Dundela made sure of the points, when Murphy converted a penalty after Adam McCart had brought down Cherry.
Ten minutes from time Doyle was out of luck when his effort beat McKay in the home goal, but the ball crashed against the bar before being hacked clear.
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; Monteith (Higgins 45), Getty, Harkness (Doyle 45), Buckley; Agnew, McClean, McCart, McAlea (Smith 76), Simms, Trussell. Subs not used: Mulholland and Forsythe.
Saturday’s home Steel & Sons Cup tie against Ballynahinch United starts at 2.30 pm.