Ballinamallard United captain Richard Clarke pictured with Alyn Spratt from Bluefin Sport
Friday, 27 September 2019
It's matchday ten in the Bluefin Sport Championship as the race for promotion is starting to heat up! We look ahead to all the games in our gameweek preview.
Ards v Dundela (venue: Bangor Fuels Arena: kick-off: 3pm)
A drab scoreless draw for Warren Feeney’s Ards side last Saturday meant they failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since the opening week of the season. Eight points behind leaders Portadown and in fifth place, the County Down side are only three points outside of the top three promotion playoff places. Influential captain Johnny Taylor will be suspended for this clash having been shown a straight red last weekend against Loughgall.
Dundela suffered only their second defeat of the Championship season last Saturday, losing heavily to Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park. Despite the loss, Dundela remain in third place in the table and Bryan McCarroll and his players will be looking to get back on track when they make the short trip down the road to Bangor.
Ballinamallard United v Queens University (venue: Ferney Park; kick-off: 3pm)
It’s now been four wins from their last five league outings for Harry McConkey and Ballinamallard United as they continue to creep up the table and their impressive 4-0 display against Dundela marked their promotion credentials as they look to challenge for a place back in the Danske Bank Premiership next season.
The honeymoon period is slowly ending for Peter Thompson’s Queens University since their promotion into senior football. The 3-1 defeat to Newry City six days ago was their fourth in sucession as they have dropped down to tenth in the table and now hover agonisingly one point outside the relegation zone. The long trip to County Fermanagh to play one of the league’s in form teams won’t be the ideal choice of fixture for the Students to get back on the saddle.
HW Welders v Dergview (venue: Tillysburn Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The Welders are still looking for their first win in five Championship games to lift them out of the bottom two. Matthew Ferguson’s equaliser last week against PSNI earned a point, but the lack of goals will be of concern for Colin McIlwaine and George O’Boyle as they have scored the second fewest of all the teams in the division this term. They will be without the attacking threat of Dylan Davidson again, who is still suspended.
Ivan Sproule’s Dergview will feel unlucky to not have got anything from their home game against Portadown last weekend, their narrow 2-1 defeat to the league leaders means they start the weekend in ninth place on ten points. It has been the only blip in a positive month for the Castlederg side who have won all their other competitive games during the month of September.
Knockbreda v Loughgall (venue: Breda Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Nothing seems to be going right for hapless Knockbreda at the bottom of the Bluefin Sport Championship. Lee Forsythe’s men shipped four goals without reply last Saturday against Ballyclare Comrades and are now ten games without a victory dating back to the opening day of the league season.
Title chasing Loughgall lost some ground on Portadown last week, when they could only manage a goalless draw against Ards at Lakeview Park. Dean Smith’s side sit second in the table and a win against the division’s bottom side will be vital to any promotion aspirations come the end of the season – they will have to travel to East Belfast without the services of defender Marcus Dallas who is suspended.
Newry City v Ballyclare Comrades (venue: Newry Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)
Both these sides picked up three points last week to edge closer out of the bottom half of the table. Firstly Newry City produced a good display in the 3-1 win away to Queens University. That included a debut for the last minute arrival of Danish defender Benny Moller Neilson, who featured for Linfield last season.
In the opposite dugout Paul Harbinson will be delighted to have finally got the monkey off his back with a first victory as Ballyclare Comrades manager. The East Antrim club made light work of bottom side Knockbreda last week at Dixon Park, winning 4-0. Ballyclare Comrades have scored the most goals of any side in the bottom half of the division, a win on Saturday could potentially elevate them into the top six if results go in their favour.
PSNI v Portadown (venue: The Dub; kick-off: 3pm)
Two of the Bluefin Sport Championship’s in-form teams meet at the Dub on Saturday. Sammy McFadden and his PSNI side are now five league games unbeaten as they sit comofortably in the top half of the Championship table. The South Belfast club drew 2-2 with cross city rivals HW Welders at Tillysburn Park last Saturday.
Leaders Portadown carved out a 2-1 victory away to Dergview last Saturday, which (with other results going their way) meant a four point gap has opened up at the top of the table for Matthew Tipton's side. The Ports were relegated from the Premiership in 2017 and now look ready to make their return. The make the trip to Belfast however without injured forward Chris Lavery this weekend.