Portadown take on Ballyclare Comrades in the Bluefin Sport Championship this week (c) Presseye
Thursday, 13 September 2018
What a weekend in store in the Bluefin Sport Championship as the top four face off with all of their unbeaten starts to the season on the line.
Ballinamallard United v Knockbreda (venue: Ferney Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Life back in the second tier after six years has been a difficult transition for Harry McConkey and his Ballinamallard side. Yet another league defeat last Friday evening to Ballyclare Comrades (their fourth in five games) leaves the Mallards in tenth position.
Knockbreda currently sit a single place and a single point above Saturday’s opponents in the Bluefin Sport Championship table. Manager Lee Forsythe last week seen his side become the latest to succumb to leaders Dundela, but will be concerned with the lack of goals in his team, as they have currently the lowest number of goals scored to date with only three in five games.
Dergview v Limavady United (venue: Darragh Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The home side’s impressive start to the season took a knock last weekend with defeat to Carrick Rangers, but with three league wins and their League Cup giant killing act against Glenavon recently, Peter Allen can be proud of his side’s efforts to date, given they only stayed in the division by virtue of the play-offs back in May.
Sean Friars’ Limavady United currently are in seventh place just outside the top half of the table, following their point away to Portadown last Friday night. The Roesiders are starting to find some form as they travel to Castlederg on a mini-run of three games without defeat, having lost their opening two Championship games.
Dundela v Larne (venue: Wilgar Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The game of the day in the Bluefin Sport Championship will be at Wilgar Park as Bryan McCarroll’s Dundela put their 100% on the line with the visit of title favourites and unbeaten Larne. The East Belfast side made it five wins from five last weekend against Knockbreda in a remarkable start to the season, which sees Jordan Hughes lead the division’s goalscoring chart with seven goals to his name.
Tiernan Lynch’s Larne side found their stride last week with a comfortable 3-0 win over HW Welders at Inver Park in a win that could have been much more. It’s now four wins in succession in the Championship for Larne who currently occupy third position and are two points behind the leaders, Dundela.
Loughgall v HW Welders (venue: Lakeview Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Both these sides will be buoyed by a victory apiece in the last week which halted a miserable run of form at each club. Loughgall picked up their first points since the opening day of the league campaign with a 3-2 win over PSNI last Friday – with Gary Liggett, Nathaniel Ferris and Peter Campbell all on target.
HW Welders will be one of the club’s most disappointed with their start to the season as they are without a league win since the opening game, with four defeats on the bounce for last season’s third placed side. Their re-arranged midweek League Cup second round victory over Portstewart will restore some confidence ahead of the trip to Lakeview Park, however extra time and penalties may mean some heavy Welders’ legs going into this clash.
Portadown v Ballyclare Comrades (venue: Shamrock Park; kick-off: 3pm)
There’s another top of the table clash with two undefeated teams at Shamrock Park, as Portadown welcome Ballyclare Comrades. Matthew Tipton was frustrated as his team dropped two points at home to Limavady United last week as they eventually came from behind with Darren Murray’s equaliser earning a point.
The Comrades’ start to the season has been slightly overshadowed by the heroics of Dundela but Stephen Hughes has rejuvenated the Dixon Park for a potentially serious promotion push – which will be given the chance to prove it’s validity on Saturday at Shamrock Park. Last time out on Friday past the Comrades secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Ballinamallard United.
PSNI v Carrick Rangers (venue: Newforge Lane; kick-off: 3pm)
Colin Malone's PSNI side are now five games without a point in the Championship, but their losing streak could be argued is an unfair reflection of the team's ability. Their latest loss was a narrow 3-2 reverse to Loughgall in which Lukasz Adamczyk's late rally of two goals not enough to get their first points on the board.
Carrick Rangers' erratic start to the season leaves them currently in sixth position, nine points off the leaders but a 1-0 win at home last week to Dergview was a welcome boost for Niall Currie's side - Stewart Nixon's early strike was the only goal of the game, and the striker's first of the season since signing from Ballyclare Comrades.
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