Ballyclare Comrades Reserves moved to within a point of Ballymena Junior Division 1 leaders Antrim Rovers with a 4-1 home win against Carnmoney on Saturday.
Rovers only managed a draw with FC Whiteabbey at Antrim Forum.
Ryan McIlwaine was first on the scorecard in the ninth minute when he applied the finishing touch following a fine build-up involving David McCullough and Mark Conn and that’s how it stayed until the break.
The Wee Reds continued to dominate in the second half, and doubled the lead when promising teenager Craig Todd drilled the ball into the top corner, after Conn and McTaggart had created space in the box.
Craig Montgomery opened Carnmoney’s account on the hour when he beat Jonah Nicholl with a rising shot, but Tyler McMaster and McCullough did the spadework for Nathan Stranaghan to regain the two-goal advantage.
In the 80th minute Nicholl came to the rescue when he brilliantly saved a penalty at the base of the post following a foul by skipper CJ McIlwaine, who redeemed himself moments later when he overlapped and set it up for McTaggart to complete the scoring.
“For the first time for several weeks I had the luxury of four players on the bench, and with the welcome return of Stranaghan and McMaster our sights will now be firmly on attempting to clinch our fourth consecutive league title,” asserted manager Hughes.
“Midfielder David McCullough has been a first-class capture from Portadown, and he shaded the Man of the Match award just ahead of Stranaghan who impressed up front.” Next up: Desertmartin Swifts, home.