Lough 41 Championship.
Ards vs Ballyclare.
Friday September 24th at 7.45 p.m
Ards will be eager to put the memory of last week's late, late defeat at Institute behind them and revitalise their title challenge by beating Ballyclare in this Friday night fixture. The Comrades will be a hard nut to crack though as manager Paul Harbinson has built a side that has shown it can compete at this level. They are currently on 16 points, the same total as Annagh and Ards, with only goal difference separating the three teams. The visitors are unbeaten in their last four league games, a run which includes a win last Saturday over league leaders Newry City, they kept that momentum going with a 3-1 County Antrim Shield win over Queens on Tuesday night, their third win over the students this season, adding to earlier victories in the League and the League Cup.
The Comrades squad has experience in the shape of Howard Beverland, ex Coleraine and Crusaders, and Chris Ramsey ex Cliftonville, Carrick Rangers and Portadown and has a goal threat from Gary Donnelly, who got the winner against Newry and Joe Tully who has rejoined the club after spells with Larne and Carrick Rangers. So far this season though most goals have come from defender Liam McKenna, another with previous experience at Carrick Rangers and Portadown.
Once again John Bailie will have selection problems, unavailable through injury will be long term absentee Dee Dee McAllister his brother Eamon, Daniel Reynolds and James Ferrin. Also missing will be Christopher Crane who will begin his three match suspension following his dismissal against Institute last Saturday. On a brighter note, Craig McMillen should return to the squad after missing last week's game. With the top half of the league getting tighter, Friday's game is a chance for both teams to go top, even if only until Saturday afternoon, so the importance of three points should be sufficient motivation for the Red and Blues to get back to winning ways.
Referee : To be confirmed.
1st Assistant : "
2nd Assistant : "
Match sponsor : Peter Rogers. Estate Agents. Conway Square, Newtownards.
Ball sponsor : Luke Murray, Jewellers. Regent Street, Newtownards.