Burns and Higgins send Old Boys six clear at the summit

On target: Ronnie Burns

On target: Ronnie Burns

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Ronnie Burns and Ricky Higgins once again scored the goals that earned the points for Ballynure Old Boys.

Desertmartin were chasing the game after turning round one down but even home advantage couldn’t prevent them from losing 3-1 in Saturday’s Ballymena Intermediate League fixture.

Ballynure manager Gary Burns was able to field an unchanged side for the first time this season, so his lads started confidently. Following a series of corners, they eventually forged ahead in the 20th minute when left-back Mark Curlett linked with Higgins, who crossed for Burns to beat the keeper with a firm header.

The hosts were well in the game but were restricted to long-range efforts that didn’t bother keeper Paul Hughes, who also dealt confidently with crosses.

Andy Forsythe and David Officer replaced injured Gareth Curlett and Johnny Robinson in the second half, and it was Forsythe who conceded the penalty which allowed Desertmartin to draw level in the 65th minute.

Moments later ‘Nure regained the lead when Higgins tapped in from close range and five minutes from time Burns doubled his tally with another header following a mazy run by Simon McGreevy.

“That was our fifth win on the bounce and with Brantwood dropping points and Newtowne not having a game, I reckon we are now six points clear at the top,” enthused Gary Burns.

“Desertmartin had plenty of possession but our back four - Barry Penny, Mark Leckey, and the Curlett brothers - stood firm and Paul Hughes was rarely troubled,” he added.

Ballynure Old Boys: Hughes; Penny, Leckey, G Curlett, M Curlett; S Duff, Robinson, M Duff, McGreevy; R Burns, R Higgins. Subs: Forsythe, Officer, Watson, McIlroy.

On Saturday, Ballynure are at home to Ballysillan.