Action from the last time Larne met HW Welders at Tillysburn Park (c) Larne FC
Friday, 22 February 2019
Could the destiny of the Bluefin Sport Championship title finally be confirmed this Saturday, we look ahead to all the games.
Ballinamallard United v Portadown (venue: Ferney Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The Mallards fine form which took them into the top half of the table for the split has deserted them in recent weeks, with three successive league defeats which leaves them rooted into sixth place. Whilst league safety is assured in the top half, attentions may soon turn to next week’s huge Irish Cup quarter-final away to Dungannon Swifts once they overcome the hurdle of Portadown at Ferney Park this Saturday.
Matthew Tipton’s Portadown now seem to be locked in a two horse race with Carrick Rangers for second place in the Championship, the 6-0 demolition of HW Welders opened up a five point gap on fourth placed Dundela going into the weekend’s fixtures.
Ballyclare Comrades v Knockbreda (venue: Dixon Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The Comrades this weekend launch their official history book, but their current season is almost nearing completion with imminent safety from relegation on the horizon. They were defeated 2-0 by Dergview in their last league game.
Knockbreda continue to find themselves looking over their shoulder, as the upsurge in form of Dergview has left them now just three point above the relegation playoff places. There has been very little between these two clubs this season with a narrow one goal win apiece for each side and only six points separating them in the standings.
Carrick Rangers v Dundela (venue: Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena; kick-off: 3pm)
The 2-1 win on the road for Niall Currie and his Carrick Rangers team continues a fine run of form which leaves the East Antrim side in pole position for the promotion playoffs in second place. Carrick have only lost one of the last eight Championship fixtures but they will be without the suspended Dan Kelly for this game.
Visiting Dundela have endured a disappointing 2019 to date, with only win to their name in all competitions – they are still in fourth place but need to return to form if they have ambitions of a place in the playoffs come the end of the season. The East Belfast produced a five star performance back in August when the two sides last met at Taylor’s Avenue, a repeat of that would be welcomed by Dundela boss Bryan McCarroll.
Dergview v PSNI (venue: Darragh Park; kick-off: kick-off: 3pm)
Ivan Sproule’s Dergview have almost risen from the dead and survival is now on the cards after four consecutive league wins has lifted within a point of moving out of the relegation zone. They know that a win at Darragh Park this weekend would see them leapfrog their opponents who sit only a point above them.
PSNI in contrast have now only picked up one win from their last seven games and have been dragged into a relegation dogfight with Dergview. Last weekend’s point against Limavady United may have kept them out of the playoff position for another week, but this is a crucial encounter for both clubs. It’s a clash that has seen both sides win one game apiece to date this season.
HW Welders v Larne (venue: Tillysburn Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Saturday could be day that Larne could be crowned league champions after a stunning season! The Invermen just need three points on the road, though a win for second place Carrick Rangers would mathematically push formal confirmation out by another game-week, the goal difference between the two sides is virtually insurmountable with six games left after Saturday.
Norman Kelly’s Welders have been shell-shocked by some heavy defeats in recent weeks, losing 6-0 to Portadown last weekend and 7-2 to Portadown previously. They will need to shore up a leaky defence that has conceded 13 goals in two games against the Championship’s top scorers at Tillysburn Park. Larne have won both games against their East Belfast opponents this season to date, scoring three times in both victories.
Limavady United v Loughgall (venue: Limavady Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)
Despite a draw for Sean Friars’ Limavady United side last week against PSNI, they suddenly find themselves cut adrift at the foot of the second tier following Dergview’s back to back victories. The gap has now opened up to seven points and with time running out for the
Roesiders, they are starting to stare relegation in the face should they fail to beat Loughgall at the Showgrounds on Saturday. Eighth placed Loughgall go into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw with PSNI last Saturday, they defeated Limavady United 2-1 back in September at Lakeview Park, with the other meeting this season producing a 0-0 draw.
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