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Harbinson hoping to build on recent displays after draw at Knockbreda

Ballyclare Comrades let a lead slip for the third week in a row, drawing 2-2 away to Knockbreda on Saturday, (January 22).

The Dixon Park outfit came out of the traps quickly, taking the lead in the second minute thanks to a header from Jason Johnston.

Ross McCaughan then equalised for the home side shortly before the half hour mark.

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However, Ballyclare regained the advantage on the hour when Ciaran Dobbin found the net against his former side.

Ballyclare players celebrate their opening goal. (Pic Ballyclare Comrades media team).

Breaking on the counter attack, substitute Dobbin, who had only been on the field for four minutes, ran with the ball almost the full length of the pitch before finding Liam Hassin with a pass who, in turn, cut it back for Dobbin to slide beyond home ‘keeper Lewis Deane.

‘Breda ensured the points would be shared through Nathan O’Neill’s goal inside the final 20 minutes.

The draw means the Comrades have only picked up nine points from their last 14 Lough 41 NIFL Championship outings, leaving them eighth in the standings.

Despite the recent poor run of form, manager Paul Harbinson (above right) is remaining positive.

Speaking to the Times, he said: “It is very disappointing in one sense that we conceded late again this week but on the other hand, I’ve been really pleased with the performances in the last few games. We have improved dramatically and now just need to capitalise and start taking the three points.”

Harbinson is pleased with his club’s business in the transfer window, adding: “We were delighted to have made the signings that we did as we know there was competition for all of the new faces. They have settled in really well and are starting to gel with the group, so hopefully we’ll start to see the fruits of that soon.”

Ballyclare welcome second-placed Ballinamallard to Dixon Park on January 29 (3pm). Looking ahead to the clash, Paul stated: “As always we have done our homework and both of our training sessions this week will be about how we want to play against Ballinamallard.

“We’ve said consistently that there aren’t any easy games in this league so we will again have to concentrate and focus for the whole game to get something from a high-flying team, sitting in second place.”

Asked whether a late push for second place and the lucrative play-off spot is still an aspiration this season, Harbinson said: “We want to just keep on improving on performances. They have really improved of late and we want to build on that for the future.

“We have a core squad now that have spent this season and the Covid-broken season of last year together and we believe the foundations are being laid for a positive future. Having said that, it’s a strange league and I still believe there will be many twists and turns.”

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