A LAST gasp goal from gave promotion seeking Ballyclare Comrades a hard earned three points against a gallant Town side who seemed to tire in the last quarter - probably as a result of their exploits against Glenavon at Mourneview Park the previous Saturday.
This game, played on a very bumpy Dixon Park, Ballyclare on Tuesday last came too soon for Town after their Mid Ulster Cup victory. They had an excellent first half playing a very tight, compact game and showing plenty of confidence - a half that they largely controlled.
Steven O’Neill’s pace was shown to good effect early on and both he and the industrious Timmy Grant were causing problems for the Ballyclare rearguard. However, if anything the clearer chances fell to the homesters and Nathan Morley-Hillen was forced to make a fine save at the base of his upright on 18 minutes from Ricky Higgins.
The Banbridge goal had a let off soon after when Shimmon struck the post twice within seconds. He saw a right foot drive hit the post after 25 mi nutes and when the rebound came back to his feet he repeated the feat once again.
Banbridge rode the storm and came back confidently to take a 36th minute lead through the in-form O’Neill. Chris Kingsberry caused problems for Ballyclare with a defence splitting pass which caused confusion between the home ‘keeper Flood and his centre half Buckley and in nipped Steven O’Neill to slot home for a lead Town just about deserved on the balance of play.
The latter was the victim of a heavy tackle one minute before the break but was able to continue after treatment. The Comrades certainly improved in the second half and threw everything including the proverbial sink at Banbridge but found Town’s excellent back four superbly marshalled by man-of-the-match Stuart Thompson uncompromising. Kevin Henry who slotted into a central back four role (in place of the injured Neil Alderdice) had an impressive game also.
Town introduced Adam Pedlow after 74 minutes for the unusually quiet Conor Downey and he was unceremoniously axed down going through shortly after coming on.
Banbridge were coming under more pressure and it finally paid off for the homesters after 75 minutes when Shimmons lashed home the equaliser after connecting with a clearance from Town ‘keeper Morley-Hillen.
A draw seemed to be on the cards but it was heartache for Banbridge when with the last attack of the game Ballyclare were awarded a free kick which the deadly Shimmon got his head to and it ended up in the net to give the homesters a last gasp winner.
Things do not get any easier as Town travel to current League Leaders Knockbreda on Tuesday night (April 16th) Kick-Off 6.45 p.m. while on Saturday April 20th Ballymoney United will be visitors to Crystal Park (kick-Off 3.00 p.m.)
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Monteith, Doyle, Forsythe, Buckley, Brown, McGowan, McAlea, Simms, Higgins, Shimmon. Subs: Getty (for Forsythe 40 mins.), McClurg (for McAlea 80 mins.), Gray (for Higgins 82 mins.), Wilkinson, Reid.
Banbridge Town: Morley-Hillen, McCartan, Walsh, Thompson, Henry, Tumilty, Downey, McGrath, Grant, Kingsberry, O’Neill. Subs: Pedlow (for Downey 74 mins.), Cobb, Adair.