Jordan Clarke, back from a stint at Albert Foundry, scored twice in a 2-1 win over Islandmagee to give Nortel three precious points from Saturday’s Premier Division encounter at the Factory Grounds.
Andy Waide provided the Islanders’ response and Stephen Donald’s men will be hoping for better when the two sides meet again this weekend.
Nortel were without a win in their last four and with Derriaghy CC winning at Ardglass, defeat here would have had them hovering just above the drop zone.
As manager Lee McCartney said: “It was a massive three points. Things are picking up and it’s a big boost getting Jordan and his brother, Timmy, back. We also have Dale Fenner back from Grove. Jordan was the difference, scoring both goals and having another few chances. He was absolute class.
“Islandmagee had their chances, one in particular where they should have done better, but the win was deserved and it’s important going into this weekend when we’re down at their place.
“Three points at this stage is like 10. Every point is golden for us, especially on the back of two heavy defeats by Ards Rangers and Drumaness Mills. Also, it was my first derby at this level.
“And it was a positive day all round for the club, with the Seconds, under new manager Jonty Watson, beating second placed Lisburn Rangers Seconds! It gives us the springboard for the coming weeks.”