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  • Writer's pictureStuart Dellow

Match Preview vs Ballyclare

PLAYR-FIT Teamwear Championship.

Ballyclare Comrades vs Ards.

Dixon Park.

Tuesday 28th November at 7.45 p.m.


This fixture was originally scheduled for March 16th next year but has been brought forward to facilitate Ballyclare who will be installing an artificial playing surface in early 2024 and are rescheduling games to accommodate the necessary work.

Ards will not have happy memories of their last visit to Dixon Park when a poor performance saw them crash to a 6-3 defeat, their heaviest of the season. On the plus side the Red and Blues have played four league games since that debacle and have picked up ten points with three wins and a draw, perhaps more importantly in three of those games the team kept a clean sheet. Consequently Ards now find themselves up to eighth position with 23 points, just two points behind sixth placed Ballyclare, although the Comrades do have a game in hand. However a win for the visitors will put them ahead of their hosts and into the top half of the table.

As a result of rearranging fixtures Ballyclare have played six of their last seven games at home and they have an enviable record with just one defeat in a total of ten home games so far this season. This of course means a lot of away fixtures for the Comrades come the New Year. However Ards have found a bit of form and performances over the last few games, apart from the draw against Knockbreda, have shown a distinct improvement, perhaps coinciding with a more positive line up. Travelling fans will be hoping for a continuation of that improvement and a measure of revenge for the last visit, which was exactly a month ago.

The other game between the sides this season finished 2-2 in Bangor in September, when Ards allowed ten man Ballyclare to claw back two late goals giving them a draw, a result which had seemed very unlikely to most of those present. Last Saturday the Comrades beat the Welders 3-1, the Welders playing most of that game with ten men after Dan McMurray was sent off in the 15th minute. Those looking a form guide will point out that Ards won 3-0 at Blanchflower Park prior to completing the "East Belfast double" with that 4-0 win over Dundela in their last outing.

Obvious danger men for the home side are Darius Roohi with seven goals so far and Calvin McCurry with ten goals to his credit, including a treble in that 6-3 mauling last time the teams faced each other, both players have spent time with Ards as has Gary Donnelly who scored a great goal against the Welders on Saturday. Another ex-Ards man, Conal McGrandles, who was sent off in that 2-2 draw in September should also feature.

Ards have had a number of players nursing injuries recently and even filling the bench has been difficult at times. Hopefully there will be a full panel to choose from on Tuesday and the recent upward momentum will be maintained.


Match Officials :-

Referee :- Gareth Stewart.

1st Assistant :- Jason Miller.

2nd Assistant :- Justin Maxwell.

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