Gary Brown and Corey McMullan celebrate (Picture: Freddie Parkinson/PressEye.com)
Saturday, 24 September 2016
Ballyclare Comrades allowed a two goals lead to slip, but recovered to win 3-2 in a feisty local derby at Dixon Park.
First half goals by Corey McMullan and Gary Brown seemed to have Comrades well on the way to victory, but five minutes in to the second session Samuel McIlveen sparked a Larne recovery, and when Michael Smith restored parity it was game on.
However the home fans had the weekend bragging rights when McMullan secured the points thirteen minutes from time.
A strong wind and squally showers and a slippery surface made playing conditions difficult but there was early action at each end.
In the 14th minute the home goal had a let-off when a Chris Rodgers header was cleared off the line, but almost immediately Comrades were in front, when Thomas Robinson crossed for McMullan to fire in to the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Paddy Flood in the home goal and his opposite number Joel Madison had to deal only with long range efforts until the 30th minute, when Brown drilled in number two from twenty-five yards in a quick counterattack.
Rodgers continued to pose a threat when he advanced to connect with McIlveen free kicks and corners, but the visitors came nearest to scoring when Flood advanced smartly to foil James McCabe with his legs.
McIlveen opened Larne's account in the 50th minute from the penalty spot after Mark Hillen had been fouled, and in the 70th minute it was all square when Smith rose highest to nod a McIlveen free firmly in to the net.
In the 75th minute when Robinson darted in to the box he was brought down by McIlveen, and McMullan coolly secured the points from the spot.
Larne pushed forward in the closing moments but efforts by Emmett Templeton and McCabe were off target, and Comrades held out for a win that took them to joint top in the table.
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Woods, Shannon, McQuitty, McMullan, Youle, O'Hanlon, Trussell, Johnston, Brown, Robinson subs Taggart (replaced Brown 83), Gray (not used), Irwin (not used), Dillon (not used), Crowe (not used)
Larne: Madison, Bradley, Rodgers, Buckley, Henry, Templeton, McKenna, Dorrian, Hillen, McIlveen, McCabe subs Stuart (replaced McIlveen 80), Irvine (replaced Dorrian 46), Kane (not used), Thompson (not used), Smith (replaced Henry 18)
Referee: Artis Ķēniņš
|Corey McMullan||45 +2||15,75p|
|Gary Dorrian||45 +2||46|