Moyola Park 1
Ballyclare Comrades 1
MOYOLA entertained Ballyclare Comrades at the Mill Meadow on Saturday looking to do the double over them after winning the away fixture early in the season.
The early stages of the game were encouraging for the visitors, as they knocked the ball around well on the artificial surface and looked the more threatening side. In the 3rd minute they almost took the lead, when a cross from the right edge of the box from Reid, found Burns arriving at the back-post, but his header from 3 yards out hit the upright.
In a first half of very few chances Moyola’s first effort of goal came in the 35th minute when the visitors’ Harbinson was caught in possession inside his own half by McIlhatton who advanced towards goal. However, Harbinson pulled McIlhatton back by his shirt as McIlhatton hit shot from just inside the box which was saved by Flood. This was a rare moment of threat from the home side in the first half and Comrades continued to look the more likely to score.
The second half started in rather scrappy fashion, and was more even in terms of attacking possession than had been the case in the first half. In the 63rd minute Comrades produced their best move of the game so far. A swift counter-attack involving Armstrong, Burns and Simms ended with the ball being played by Simms low across the 6-yard box where Ricky Higgins arrived and looked a good bet to score, but, on the stretch, he sent his effort from 4 yards over the bar.
Moyola looked to have rather more confidence and ambition in the second period and began to cause the Comrades defence some problems. In the 73rd minute, a free kick from Maguire was flicked on by Lucas and Mclean in a great position shot wide.
On 76 minutes, Ricky Higgins did well to make space for a shot from the edge of the box, but his effort lacked the power to trouble Maguire. On 85 minutes another chance fell to the visitors, when a corner was not cleared from the Moyola box and the ball fell to Ronnie Burns. However, his crisp shot from 12 yards flew low past the near post. In the 87th minute Moyola grabbed what looked like the winner. A straight ball sliced through Comrades’ defences, setting McIlhatton free on goal, and he made no mistake, slotting into the net from 12 yards past the advancing keeper. The home side looked as if they would do the double on the Comrades however, a corner in the 90th minute, was headed down back across goal by Harbinson at the far post and Ricky Higgins was on the spot to turn it in from 4 yards.
With the game into injury time, Hassan got sent off for two bookable offences and Ballyclare’s Simms also saw red for a second yellow card, after pushing a Moyola player who was trying to delay a restart of play.
Moyola: Maguire, Doey, Kells, McQuillan, Whiteside, Ritchie, Lucas, Mclean, McFadden, Hassan, McIlhatton. Subs: Moore, Kenning, Pattison, Stewart.
Ballyclare: Flood, Reid, Logue, Harbinson, Pierce, Armstrong, Irvine, McGowan, Burns, R Higgins, Simms. Subs: Montgomery, McCullough, McClurg, McDowell, D Higgins.
Moyola’s next home game is on Saturday 21st April against Sport & Leisure Swifts in the Mill Meadow with a 3pm kick off.