Loughgall 3 – 2 Ballyclare Comrades

A late winner from Ricky Copeland, his second of the game, saw Loughgall pick up all three points in a tight tussle against Ballyclare Comrades.

Comrades had the first chance of the game on 8 minutes when strikers Chris Trussell and Curtis Dempster combined for the latter to draw a good save from Loughgall ‘keeper Gareth Buchanan.

Then it was Ballyclare ‘keeper Jonah Nicholl’s turn to make a fine save when he parried Jamie Rea’s fizzing shot from 20 yards in the 14th minute.

The Villagers broke the deadlock on 21 minutes when Ricky Copeland headed Rea’s free-kick in off the post from close range. The lead lasted less than one minute as Andrew Simpson did fantastically well to volley home Michael O’Hanlon’s free-kick delivery.

Loughgall regained their lead in the 28th minute when Daniel Ryan was released clear and slotted home beyond ‘keeper Nicholl.

Loughgall were hit with a blow as they conceded deep into first half additional time. Goalkeeper Buchanan will be disappointed when he was unable to keep out Trussell’s free-kick that crept in at the near post.

For all the excitement of the first period, the second failed to provide many clear cut opportunities.

On 62 minutes Loughgall had ‘keeper Buchanan to thank after he superbly saved Simpson’s penalty kick after captain Steven Ferguson handled inside the penalty area.

A great attacking move saw Warner Mullen set up strike partner Ryan who missed a difficult volley with nine minutes remaining.

Just as the game seemed to be destined for a draw Copeland popped up and headed in Rea’s perfect corner delivery in the 86th minute.

Loughgall: Buchanan, Taylor (McMahon 63m), Mallen, Copeland, Hudson, Walsh (Uprichard 81m), Ferguson (Drylie 73m), Dallas, Ryan, Mullen, Rea. Unused subs: Henderson, Dane.

Ballyclare Comrades: Nicholl, Brown, McDermott, McQuity, Wharry, McCart, Simpson (Johnston 85m), Dobbin (McClurg 76m), Trussell, Dempster (Reid 63m), O’Hanlon. Unused subs: Getty, Shannon.