MOYOLA Park travelled to Dixon Park on Saturday to take on Ballyclare Comrades looking for their first points of the season, this was going to be difficult as the Comrades had made a 100% start to the season.
For this match Mervyn Pattison had several players unavailable including himself after being sent off in the cup game at Annagh in mid week, also missing was Lennox, Mullan, Harkness and Monaghan.
The first half was something of a non-event. It was scrappy and frustrating affair with neither keeper having to make a save worth mentioning.
The first glimpse of a chance didn’t come until the 22nd minute when a corner into the Moyola box fell to McClurg, but he stabbed a shot wide from 12 yards. The only real other chance again fell to McClurg on 38 minutes when, after a McClelland knock-down from a Brown cross into the box.
The sides went in level at half-time, and although Comrades had put in a disjointed performance, there had been absolutely nothing shown in an attacking sense by the visitors.
The second half started with a brief flourish from Comrades to raise the hopes of the home fans. In the 49th minute a cross from the right from Armstrong went to the back post area where McClurg arrived to send a diving header wide from 4 yards.
The home side were still looking far from their best and the early promise at the start of the second half tailed off for a while as the frustrating play of the first period resurfaced.
On 65 minutes a cross from the right, played in by McCullough, was met by a good header from a difficult position 11 yards out by McClelland, which forced a great save from Maguire.
Ballyclare substitute Hill almost got on the scoresheet with his first touch, when he received a ball in from the right edge of the box from McClelland and fired off a shot from 7 yards, which Maguire did well to save.
In the 67th minute the visitors’ keeper again produced a fine save when a ball played into the crowded Moyola box was deftly back-heeled towards goal by McCullough, but he was denied by the good reactions of Maguire.
Moyola began to get the confidence to go forward more and they created a number of decent opportunities.
On 75 minutes Comrades had another chance to score when a ball in from the left found McClurg on the edge of the 6-yard box who did well to make room for a shot, but again Maguire was up to the task, producing another good save. Comrades were made to pay for not converting their second half pressure into goals when Moyola took the lead in the 80th minute. The home defence failed to clear the ball and it fell to McFadden, who fired a low shot past the despairing dive of Glendinning from 25 yards out.
Moyola built on this lead when in the 89th minute wayward ball played out of the home defence was picked off and played to McIntyre who advanced down the left, before cutting inside the box and neatly finishing across the advancing keeper from 12 yards.
This was a great defensive performance from the visitors with Maguire especially in unbeatable form. Moyola manager Mervyn Pattison will be pleased to get the first three points on the board and will be hoping to build on this victory.
Ballyclare Comrades: Glendinning, Reid, McCullough, Rushe, Logue, MacAuley, Armstrong, McClurg, Brown, Sharples, McClelland. Subs: Hill, Ibinson, Pierce, Holland, Hill
Moyola Park: Maguire, Kells, Lucas, McQuillan, Kelly, McFadden, Hassan, McIntyre, Holmes, Johnston, Stewart. Subs: Moore, Kenning, McIlhatton.
Moyola have no game this Saturday with the next game on Saturday 17th September 2011 at home to Chimney Corner.