Big games on horizon for in-form Wakehurst

WAKEHURST boss Ian Gregg is relishing the significance of his side’s Belfast Telegraph Championship 
Two run-in.

Wakehurst FC.

The Ballymena side recorded their third straight league win on Saturday - the first time they’ve achieved that feat in Gregg’s tenure - with a 2-1 win over Sport & Leisure Swifts.

Wakehurst’s good form will be tested to the full this week when they face the top two teams in the division - a ‘home’ game against Knockbreda tonight (Tuesday), followed by a trip to joint leaders Ballyclare Comrades this Saturday.

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“The last few weeks have been very satisfying and it gives us plenty to look forward to in the remaining weeks,” Gregg told Times Sport.

“We have Knockbreda to play twice, Lurgan Celtic to play twice and Ballyclare - all sides above us in the table - so we’re going to have a real say on the promotion and title races, so the games are all meaningful.

“Aside from that, our recent run has taken us to eighth in the table and I want us to push on and try to break into the top six, which was one of the targets I had set at the start 
of the season.

“It looked as though it was going to be a frustrating day against Sport & Leisure - if we had put away our chances we’d have been out of sight long before Conor Gregg scored our winner with two minutes to go,” added Gregg, who is without Ryan Young, who is awaiting a scan on a knee cartilage problem, and Ryan Gregg, who is recovering from a 
dislocated shoulder.

In a disappointing first 45 minutes, the closest Wakehurst came to a goal was a sixth minute Roy Colville header from Lee McCaughern’s corner that hit the junction of the post and crossbar before being cleared.

The second half had barely started when Aaron Lemon, Andy Laughlin and Conor Gregg combined on the left and when Gregg delivered a hard driven cross, Swifts player Steven McDonnell could only turn the ball into his own net.

Five minutes later the west Belfast side were level when Jason Close found John Donnan unmarked on the edge of the box and he beat Marc Maybin from 10 yards.

Mark Crawford made an amazing block on the edge of the 6-yard box to prevent Wakehurst from going 
behind and a switch to a 4-4-2 formation paid dividends in the closing stages when Stephen Mellon played a great through ball to Gregg and he threaded the ball round Tully and into the net.

Wakehurst: M Maybin, M Crawford, A Lemon, D Stevenson, R Colville, P Alexander, L McCaughern, A Laughlin, C Gregg, J Paul, S Mellon. Subs: J Lemon, R Culbertson, S McIlroy, S McKinney, D Parker.