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  • Writer's pictureStuart Dellow

Ards v Ballyclare - Match Preview

PLAYR-FIT Teamwear Championship.

Ards F.C vs Ballyclare Comrades.

Clandeboye Park.

Saturday 9th September at 3.00 p.m.

After the midweek action in the County Antrim Senior Shield, Ards resume the hunt for the points that will help them move up the League table as Ballyclare visit Clandeboye Park for the second time in four days. In their previous visit on Tuesday evening ex-Ards striker Darius Roohi had given the Comrades an early two goal lead, but a strong showing from Bangor saw another ex-Ards striker Ben Arthurs score four times as Bangor ran out easy winners, so they join Ards in the quarter final draw for the Shield. Ards of course beat Queen's University 2-1 on Wednesday.

Ballyclare, who have been managed by Stephen Small since March 2022, strangely his first management role since leaving Donegal Celtic in September 2012, are currently in fifth place with nine points and a goal difference of - 2. They have proved strong at home, beating Bangor, Portadown and Ballinamallard but have so far lost both away games without scoring, at Dundela and Institute. Leading goal scorers so far will be familiar to Ards fans, Roohi has four in total while Calvin McCurry has two. Gary Donnelly who spent a few months at Ards is also likely to feature as is Conal McGrandles, another who spent time with the Red and Blues.

Ards are on a run of four unbeaten, including that Shield win over Queen's University on Wednesday night and are in tenth place with just five points, also with a goal difference of - 2. The starting eleven in that Shield game showed nine changes from the team that began the 3-2 win at Knockbreda last Saturday and now that we return to League business Matthew Tipton is likely to revert to a more familiar line up. Patrick Cafolla is still unavailable as he recovers from his hamstring injury but otherwise there should be a full squad to choose from. Fans will be watching the team selection with interest, hoping for a positive approach and a continuation of the unbeaten run.

Last season Ballyclare got the better of games between the two teams, although Ards took four points from the two games in Bangor, the Comrades won both their home games, one with a late comeback to win 3-2 in February, followed by a comprehensive 5-1 win in April.

Match Sponsor :- Martin Phillips Carpets. Portaferry Road, Newtownards.

Ball Sponsor :- Luke Murray Jewellers, Regent Street, Newtownards.

Match Officials :-

Referee :- Neil Robinson.

1st Assistant :- Richard Hegarty.

2nd Assistant :- Ken Ross.

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