Five-star Comrades rewarded with Glens tie after seeing off Islandmagee

Ballyclare Comrades 5

BALLYCLARE Comrades prevailed in the banana-skin dubbed Irish Cup tie against Islandmagee, and were rewarded with a glamour clash against Glentoran in round six.

Amateur League Premier League clubs have been to the fore in major cup competitions this season, so although Comrades were the bookies' favourites, keen competition was expected, but the juniors got off to the worst possible start, when they conceded a playground own goal after only seven minutes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Neil McKnight's attempted clearance rebounded off the chest of team-mate Andrew Phillips, and trickled in to the net with goalkeeper David Harrison left hopelessly stranded.

Four minutes later the writing was on the wall, when Mark McClelland doubled the lead with a lethal low strike from the edge of the box, that eluded the despairing dive of Harrison at the near post.

With Michael Moore and Simon Moffatt prominent in midfield, and Billy Waide in impressive form up front, the islanders redoubled their efforts, and only a superb one-handed save by Allen Huxley prevented Waide from pulling one back in the 36th minute.

Five minutes later McConnell put the game beyond the visitors, when he held off the challenge of two defenders down the inside-left channel, before expertly slipping the ball wide of the advancing Harrison, for the best goal of the afternoon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hopes of a glut of home goals in the second half were dashed when Waide reduced the deficit in the 51st minute with a close range tap in, after Huxley failed to deal effectively with a high cross from the left wing.

Despite this reverse the Reds were having the better of exchanges, and, on the hour David Officer, playing his first full game since November, missed a wonderful opportunity to get his name on the scorecard when he fired straight into Harrison's arms in a one on one situation.

Four minutes later the keeper, who once again dashed outside his area, was caught out when Keith Armstrong beat him for pace, and rolled the ball in to the net.

But Islandmagee were never out of it. A Stuart Hilditch header hit the bar, and Phillips nodded one wide of the target, while Waide always posed a threat with his dainty footwork, but they lacked a cutting edge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Substitute Johnny Gowdy showed them how to do it nine minutes from time, when he completed the scoring from close range after Armstrong's initial effort had been blocked on the line.

Islandmagee's big day out was somewhat tarnished in the 86th minute when they were reduced to ten men after Waide sent off.

The Islandmagee supporters left Dixon Park disappointed, but their presence had added greatly to a good afternoon's entertainment.

Ballyclare Comrades sponsored by Solicitors Reid Black & Co: Huxley; McWilliams, Munster, McCullough, Long, Officer, Irvine, Forsythe (C), McClelland, Moore, Armstrong. Subs: Galbraith, Gowdy, Curlett, Rushe.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Islandmagee: Harrison, Craig, Anderson, Phillips, McKnight, Moore, Gibb, Moffatt, Hilditch, Waide, Murray. Subs: Smyth, Dunwoody, Thompson, McConnell, Coard.

Referee: Brian Turkington, Belfast.

On Saturday the Comrades will be off to Clandeboye Park for an Intermediate Cup tie against Bangor, kick-off three o'clock.