• Stuart Dellow

Ballyclare v Ards Preview

Lough 41 Championship.

Ballyclare Comrades vs Ards.

Dixon Park.

Saturday 18th December at 3.00 p.m.

When Ards beat Ballyclare 3-0 in the reverse fixture at the end of September they went on to win their next three games and briefly topped the table. Amazingly since that sequence of wins the Red and Blues have only gained five points from the 24 available. Even more amazing is the fact that although sitting in sixth place they are only two points behind the three teams in joint second place, while runaway leaders Newry City have an eight point lead over the chasing pack.

Ballyclare also went on a three game winning run after losing to Ards in September but since then they have had an even worse run of results than Ards with only two points gained from the last twenty four, consequently they find themselves in eighth place in the table, six points behind Ards. While Ards have found scoring goals a problem during this poor run, goals have also been scarce for the Comrades who have only registered four times in those last eight games.

While still in the mix for a play off place Ards do need to find some form and confidence soon as any of the five teams chasing Newry City are capable of going on a run and leaving the rest behind, therefore good results in this fixture and the next game at home to Knockbreda on the 27th are vital if John Bailie's team are to end the year on a high with renewed hope of competing for promotion. Ards do have a decent record against these opponents, being undefeated in their last five meetings.

Unfortunately club captain Jaimie McGovern got his fifth yellow card in last week's defeat against the Welders at Blanchflower Park and will not be available for selection. On the plus side TJ Murray, who was the PASC's November Player of the Month is available as is Ruari O'Hare as both have completed their suspensions.

The PASC bus will leave the Social Club/Gibson's Lane at 1.45 p.m. Use the bus and avoid the Christmas traffic!

Match Officials.

Referee - Keith Kennedy.

1st Assistant - Ryan Kelsey.

2nd Assistant - TBC.