Ballyclare Comrades will look to continue their unbeaten run at home to Ballinamallard tonight (c) Presseye
Friday, 07 September 2018
There’s a full schedule of fixtures in the Bluefin Sport Championship – can anyone knock league leaders Dundela off the top this week?
Knockbreda v Dundela (venue: Upper Braniel; kick-off: 6.30pm)
Not many pundits would have predicted that this East Belfast derby match would include the unbeaten league leaders in September. Bryan McCarroll’s Dundela have taken the Championship by storm since their return to the division this summer, enjoying a 100% record. Their most recent scalp was an impressive 5-2 victory over
Loughgall last Saturday, aided by Jordan Hughes’ hat-trick as the striker continues to lead the Bluefin Sport Championship scoring charts with six goals. Seventh placed Knockbreda have enjoyed a decent start themselves following a win over Limavady United and a point over Larne to date this season, they go into this game off the back of three consecutive defeats, including last weekend’s 3-0 reverse away to Dergview. Lee Forsythe has already enjoyed success against their neighbours this season, defeating the Duns at Wilgar Park in the League Cup back in August.
Larne v HW Welders (venue: Inver Park; kick-off: 6.30pm)
The much fancied Inver Park side may have had to battle through their opening games of the Championship season, but Tiernan Lynch’s men remain unbeaten after four rounds of fixtures. It was recently crowned Football Writers’ Player of the Month, Martin Donnelly who set them on their way from the penalty spot last week as they defeated PSNI, 2-1 at Newforge Lane. Larne added two deadline day signings with Fuad Sule and Benny Igiehon joining the club from Barnet and Boston United, respectively.
Norman Kelly was left frustrated as the Welders inconsistent start to the season continued last week at TIllyburn, as they surrendered a 3-0 lead to eventually lose 4-3 to Ballyclare Comrades. The East Belfast side have now not won since the opening day of the season against Carrick Rangers and go into this game off the back of three consecutive defeats, in ninth place.
Ballyclare Comrades v Ballinamallard United (venue: Dixon Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)
What a comeback for the Comrades last Saturday at HW Welders, with Jason Johnston scoring an 83rd minute to claim a stunning victory with his fourth strike of the league campaign. Stephen Hughes’ side currently sit second in the Championship table and are one of four teams yet to taste defeat in the league this season and will be looking to maintain that tonight against their opponents from Fermanagh.
Harry McConkey’s Mallards are another side that has struggled to make an impact this season so far, since returning to the division following last year’s relegation from the Danske Bank Premiership. Ballinamallard United haven’t won in the league since the opening day of the season and are in danger of a fourth consecutive Championship defeat, following last week’s stoppage time killer blow against Portadown at Ferney Park.
Loughgall v PSNI (venue: Lakeview Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)
The bottom two teams in the Bluefin Sport Championship meet at Lakeview Park, looking to kick start their seasons! Both Loughgall and PSNI share only a point between them after five games apiece. Dean Smith’s side have failed to improve on their opening day point to Portadown, losing all their games since and last week’s 5-2 defeat to Dundela gives the Villagers the unwanted title of having the leakiest defence in the league.
Without a point on the board, it could be a long season for Colin Malone’s PSNI – however they faired admirably against title favourites Larne last week at Newforge Lane, losing 2-1. They will also be without captain Scott McCrory who suffered a nasty head injury in last week’s game after colliding with Larne’s Ben Tilney.
Portadown v Limavady United (venue: Shamrock Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)
Matthew Tipton’s Ports have been quietly going about their business with success this season, as much of the attention in the division has focused on Larne, it’s the Shamrock Park club with eyes firmly on a return to the top-flight. It took a moment of Kevin Braniff magic five minutes into stoppage time last week at Ballinamallard to seal the victory which left Portadown in third place and still undefeated in the Championship this season.
The Roesiders kick started their season last Friday night with a 2-1 win over Carrick Rangers at the Showgrounds. Robbie Hume’s late goal was enough to ensure Sean Friars’ side picked up their first victory of the campaign as they go into the game currently sixth in the table ahead of the trip to Shamrock Park tonight.
Carrick Rangers v Dergview (venue: Belfast Loughshore Hotels Arena; kick-off: 7.45pm)
Two sides with entirely contrasting starts to the season meet in East Antrim this evening as Carrick Rangers look to quickly adjust back to life in the second tier having only picked up three points from a possible twelve this season. With only one win coming against Knockbreda a fortnight ago, manager Niall Currie will be keen for improvement following a disappointing defeat to Limavady this time last week.
Visiting Dergview arrive at the Belfast Loughshore Hotels Arena on the crest of a wave, having narrowly avoided relegation last season via the playoffs, Peter Allen’s side have won their last four games in succession, which includes a memorable League Cup victory over Glenavon, can they make it five in a row this weekend?
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