Tonight’s round of fixtures see us reach the quarter final stage of the Toals Co. Antrim Shield. With the competition heating up we see two mouth watering derby games in this quarter final stage. Glentoran travel to Windsor Park to face Linfield and Cliftonville travel to the Shore Road to face their North Belfast rivals Crusaders. The other ties of this round see championship leaders Larne host Ards and Ballyclare travel to Ballymena.
Ballymena play host tonight to a Ballyclare side who have started extremely well in the Championship. The ‘Comrades’ sit in 4th spot in the Championship and have picked up some impressive results already this season. Likewise, Ballymena sit in 4th spot in the Premiership table and are also in fine form. If there is going to be an upset tonight in this round of fixtures my money is on it happening at the Showgrounds. I can see this one being a high scoring affair with both teams conceding goals and scoring goals.
A very interesting tie comes tonight at Inver Park. Championship leaders Larne host Premiership outfit Ards. This tie could be a tell tail of what is to come from Larne and what level they are currently at. This fixture will have a lot of attention on it to assess if Larne have the potential for promotion this season and if they can mix it with the Premiership clubs. Ards will be coming into this tie full of confidence after a shock result, ending Linfields unbeaten run with a 2-1 victory. I will be definitely keeping my eye on this result.
A tasty quarter final tie between the North Belfast rivals at Seaview tonight. When it looked like the Crues were starting to build some momentum, that was quickly stalled on Saturday with a defeat to Coleraine. Crusaders have an impressive home record against their bitter rivals, not loosing at Seaview since 2014. This derby always produces a number of goals with the last game live on BBC ending in a Crues 3-2 victory. Cliftonville will be aiming to stop their poor run at Seaview with a victory tonight and book their place in the semis. Can the Crues keep ‘Joe the Goal’ quiet tonight?
‘The Big Two’ meet again tonight for the second time in just two weeks. Both sides suffered defeat on Saturday and what a way to bounce back with a victory in the ‘Belclassico’. Glentoran’s defeat came in controversial circumstances at the weekend ending the game with 8 men after three red cards. City rivals Linfield, suffered their first defeat this season in a shock away defeat to struggling Ards. These derby games between the two clubs tend to be a very fiery affair with the last encounter seeing a total of 9 yellow cards. A tough one to call tonight at Windsor, I am going to go with a narrow home win.