LURGAN Celtic came away from Dixon Park with a fine 3-1 victory over Ballyclare Comrades on Saturday.
Both teams threatened to score early, Haire putting wide for Celtic from O’Hara’s cross and Ballyclare also coming close from a corner.
Celtic broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when Aaron Haire was brought down by the Ballyclare keeper inside the box,
Haire confidently scored from the resulting penalty. Celtic’s lead didn’t last long, on the 18th minute a dangerous cross into the box from a Ballyclare free kick was headed home by Keith Armstrong.
Undeterred Celtic began to create more openings in the home defence. Fitzpatrick’s shot being saved by Balyclare’s keeper and Murnin going close with a header. On 31 minutes a superb Niall Lavery pass found Raymond Fitzpatrick, the centre forward then rounded the keeper to score and put Celtic 2-1 up.
The second half started with both teams creating chances. A great Andrew Murnin cross found Aaron Haire but unfortunately on this occasion he shot wide. At the other end on the 60th minute Gary Magennis made a great goal line clearance. As Ballyclare committed everything to attack in pursuit of an equaliser it left them vulnerable to swift Celtic counter attacks.
On 80 minutes a typical Brendan Mackin run forced the home keeper into another great save. Four minutes from time Ballyclare’s attack was being continually foiled by the excellent Celtic defence and in particular Ciaran Fox. Raymond Fitzpatrick latched onto a terrific defence splitting pass and in typical Fitzy fashion rounded the keeper and several Ballyclare defenders to score a fantastic goal and put the game beyond Ballyclare and give Celtic a fine 3-1 victory.
The result gives Celtic more confidence in their fine start to the season; the prospect of promotion is certainly a real possibility. Celtic host Banbridge Town this coming Saturday in the Bob Radcliff Cup quarter final KO 2pm.