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Ards FC Women v Holywood Ladies 4 : 3


Kirsten Palmer (13 minutes)

O.G. (14 minutes)

Dru Mallon (55 minutes)

Ashley Paden (89 minutes)

P.O.M. Holly Sloan

Today saw us play host to Holywood Ladies at Londonderry Park. The match was in doubt right up to the day before as a foot injury to Ards Keeper Natalie McCullough in last week's match saw her struggle to get fit but she was determined to play so we strapped her up and the match was on.

Ards started the game on the front foot and an early long range strike from Jodi Keenan was comfortably saved by the Holywood keeper. Five minutes later Jodi Keenan played a through ball for debutante Lisa Brown but her effort was straight at the keeper. Ards were certainly looking sharp up front and Kirsten Palmer played the ball into the box for Rebecca Couper but she couldn't get her effort on target.

Holywood's first clear chance came when their No. 7 burst through the Ards defence but Victoria Gray was a match for her getting the block in and coming away with the ball. Ards then went straight down the other end and Dru Mallon's effort was straight at the keeper. Ards pressure finally paid off in the 13th minute when Dru Mallon on the edge of the box squared the ball for Ashley Paden, her miskick dropped to the feet of Kirsten Palmer and she put the ball low across the keeper into the back off the net.

A minute later and Ards had doubled their lead, Lisa Brown whipped the ball into the box and the Holywood No.2 put the ball into the back of her own net. Ards were well in control of the first half and could have easily had a more comfortable lead when Dru Mallon's effort came off the top of the crossbar. The Ards defence had been solid the whole half but Holywood did pull a goal back on the stroke of half time.

HALF TIME; 2 : 1

Ards started the second half on the attack, Jodi Keenan and Dru Mallon played a quick one-two and Dru's shot was saved by the keeper. A nice period of passing football from Ards saw Kirsten Palmer square the ball into the box and Rebecca Couper's effort went just over the crossbar. Ards were certainly in the mood for more goals and a corner kick taken by Ashley Paden saw Dru Mallon's header cleared off the line. Ards pressure paid off in the 55th minute when Dru Mallon's shot from the edge of the box found the back of the net to give Ards a two goal cushion again.

Then in two mad minutes Holywood grabbed two goals to level the match with 66 minutes on the clock. Ards dusted themselves down and showed the fighting spirit they have to get a win. Ashley Paden hit one from just inside the Holywood half which had the keeper scrambling but she managed to punch the ball out for a corner. Then a Connie Donald effort went just wide of goal. Next to have a go was Dru Mallon, her shot was fumbled by the keeper and the ball fell to Connie Donald but the keeper recovered to block her effort.

The Ards pressure would finally bear fruit with a minute of normal time remaining, Kirsten Palmer's shot was fumbled by the keeper and the Holywood No.2 put it out for a corner. Caoimhe White sent the corner into the near post and Ashley Paden was on hand with a well directed header into the back of the net for the match winner.

Manager Ashley Paden said, "Well done everyone today, we had to dig in again and fight for the win, which showed the massive character we have and that we aren't going to hide away when times are hard."

Coach Iain Hannah said, "What can I say, you can never write this team off. We showed grit and determination again to get a result."


All reactions:

26Stuart Dellow, George Young and 24 others

We traveled to Knockramer Park to play Oxford Sunnyside Ladies as part of their Charity Fundraiser Day to raise funds for Women's Aid. This match was the showcase to end their Natalie McNally Memorial Tournament.

Before the match Ards Player/Manager Ashley Paden made a donation on behalf of Ards FC Women to their Charity. This was greatly appreciated by the Oxford Sunnyside organizers.

Ards started the match very brightly and found themselves in front in the 3rd minute when Connie Donald played the ball through for Dru Mallon and she slotted the ball low past the keeper.

10 Minutes in Ashley Paden's effort from the edge of the box went just wide of goal. Oxford Sunnyside then broke through on the Ards goal but their effort came of the post. 15 minutes in Rebecca Couper won the ball inside the box but put her shot wide of goal. Oxford Sunnyside got the equaliser in the 18th minute. Then Ards were on the front foot again when Kirsten Palmer's effort hit the side netting.

Oxford Sunnyside were pushing but found an in form Ards keeper in Natalie McCullough who pulled off some great saves to keep Ards level. The woodwork came to Ards rescue again as Oxford Sunnyside hit the post for the second time in the match. Ards were certainly playing some good football and Connie Donald's effort was straight at the keeper.

Just before half time Dru Mallon burst through on goal, her shot was destined for the back of the net but the Oxford Sunnyside keeper pulled off an excellent save to deny Dru her second goal. Kirsten Palmer then saw her strike also well saved by the keeper.

HALF TIME; 1 : 1

Early in the second half Kirsten Palmer played the ball into the box for Rebecca Couper but her effort was comfortably save by the keeper.

With 20 minutes remaining Caoimhe White replaced Kenzel McCurry, this would turn out to be the game changer for Ards.

Ards kept pushing for the winning goal and when Rebecca Couper nicked the ball from the Oxford Sunnyside keeper she put her shot wide of goal. Rebecca was certainly having her best game yet in an Ards shirt. Ards finally found the net with 3 minute remaining, Dru Mallon played a quick one-two with Caoimhe White and Dru unleashed a wicked strike from the edge of the box into the far top corner giving the keeper no chance.

FULL TIME; 1 : 2

As the girls walked off the pitch to the changing rooms they were applauded by the Oxford Sunnyside parents and supporters.

We would like to thank Oxford Sunnyside for inviting us down to take part in their day and also for their hospitality. We have certainly struck up a good friendship with them.




We are delighted to have been invited by our friends at Oxford Sunnyside Fc to play in the feature match of the Natalie McNally Memorial Tournament on Sunday to raise funds for Women's Aid.

You can donate via the link below:




Ards FC Women v Greenisland FC Women Development Squad

Ards played host to the Greenisland FC Women Development Squad at Londonderry Park on Sunday afternoon. Ards were without a few of their regular players due to other commitments, which led to a slight reshuffle of the team. There were three players making their debuts in the red and blue. Nadine Keenan was back in an Ards shirt at centre back playing alongside Team Manager Ashley Paden who was Nadine's coach at youth level. Nadine's sister Jodi Keenan also made her debut at left back and Holly Sloan came on in the second half for her debut.

This was certainly a challenging match against a very good Greenisland team. The first half was end to end with Ards creating several chances with Dru Mallon coming close and Kirsten Palmer having a few attempts. Greenisland were very sharp up front but several times we saw the Ards No.1 Natalie McCullough pull off some fantastic saves, especially in one on one situations where she was off her line quickly to save at the feet of the Greenisland striker.

HALF TIME: 0 : 0

The second half started much the same as the first half but Ards did find themselves a goal down in the 60th minute. Greenisland doubled their lead a minute later. Ards were forced into making a few changes due to injuries and Greenisland made substitutions that seemed to change the game completely. Nine minutes from the end Greenisland scored again and they grabbed a fourth with four minutes left on the clock.

FULL TIME: 0 : 4

Iain Hannah (coach) said:

This was a good workout for our ladies as we continue to move forward. On to the next one. RABA

Ashley Paden (Team Manager) said:

I would like to welcome Nadine, Jodi and Holly to our RABA Family.



Kirsten Palmer 2 (5th & 33rd minute)

Connie Donald 2 (40th & 82nd minute)

Dru Mallon (76th minute)

Ards played host to a a very good & youthful Carryduff Colts at Londonderry Park on Thursday evening.

Ards first chance came in the third minute when Dru Mallon played the ball into the box and Rebecca Couper shot just wide of goal. Ards took the lead in the 5th minute, Ashley Paden won the ball on the halfway line and played an excellent through ball for Kirsten Palmer to run onto and put the ball high into the net.

Carryduff came close to an equaliser in the 12th minute when they broke through the Ards defence but Tori Cardwell (making her debut in the Ards goal) was out quickly to meet the ball rushing the Carryduff striker to shoot wide. A minute later and Carryduff had another chance but again shot wide of goal. Carryduff did equalise in the 17th minute.

Ards went on the front foot again and in the 22nd minute Dru Mallon hit a shot from the edge of the box which went just wide of goal. Ards continued to press, Dru Mallon raced down the left putting a great ball into the box that Kirsten Palmer almost got to but Rebecca Couper recycled the ball sending it back into the box and it fell to Kenzal McCurry who's shot was saved by the keeper.

Two minutes later Rebecca Couper raced through on the Carryduff goal but drifted wide and her shot was held by the keeper. Carryduff were certainly up for it and had a few chances but Ards keeper Tori Cardwell pulled off some great saves. Ards first change came in the 28th minute, Connie Donald replaced Kenzal McCurry up front.

In the 33rd minute Ards regained the lead, Dru Mallon again sent another excellent ball into the box and Kirsten Palmer met it with a cute flick past the keeper to grab her second of the match. In the 40th minute Dru Mallon was at it again down the left whipping the ball into the box and Connie Donald got on the end of it and dispatched the ball into the net for her first goal in Ards colours.

Carryduff did manage to get a goal back on the stroke of half time to narrow the Ards lead.

HALF TIME : 3 : 2

An early chance fell to Connie Donald in the second half but the Carryduff keeper saved it comfortably. Ards had the ball in the net in the 62nd minute but Rebecca Couper's goal was ruled offside. In the 70th minute Kirsten Palmer hit a shot from the edge of the box which soared just over the crossbar.

76 minutes in and Ards restored their two goal lead when Dru Mallon hit one from the edge of the box over the keeper's head who managed to get a hand to it but couldn't stop it going into the net.

Ards extended their lead in the 85th minute when Connie Donald got her second of the match sliding the ball under the keeper into the net. Carryduff managed to pull a goal back in injury time.

FULL TIME : 5 : 3

Manager's comment: Well done tonight everyone, we had to dig in and work hard to get the result. They were a good side and it was a good workout for us after not playing for a good while. It shows that our hard work in training is paying off. Up the wee RABA! - Ashley Paden.

PLAYER OF MATCH : Captain for the night Claire Mallon

Thank you to Carryduff Colts for the game and best wishes for the rest of the season.


A Learning Curve

Tonight we played host to 22nd Ladies FC at Londonderry Park, which turned out to be a night of frustration and our first defeat.

We found ourselves one-nil down after 10 minutes when we failed to to clear our box and the ball fell to a 22nd player who tucked it away. We were playing some great attacking football with Dru Mallon, Kristen Palmer and Emma Neill seeing their attempts saved by an in form 22nd goalkeeper. 22nd doubled their lead in the 20 minute. Ards continued to create chances with no avail.


22nd went three up in the 69th minute. Ards kept creating chances and finally got their reward in the 82nd minute when the hard working Kirsten Palmer pulled one back for Ards. Player Manager Ashley Paden was having the game of her life in midfield and was unlucky with a long range effort that went over the crossbar. In the 86th minute 22nd scored again after a mistake in the Ards defence.

Full Time: 1:4

The scoreline certainly doesn't reflect that we played some really good football and created plenty of opportunities. ON TO THE NEXT ONE. #RABA


Historical day for Ards FC Women

Sunday 4th June was a historical day for Ards FC Women as they played their 1st home match at Londonderry Park.

As a mark of respect, there was a minute’s silence in memory of Ards FC Club Director John Heron who sadly passed away earlier in the week, our thoughts and prayers are with Mary and the family at this sad time.

Today’s opponents were Oxford Sunnyside Ladies who stepped in at the last minute after our original opponents had to pull out.

This was a fantastic game played in soaring heat and finished all square at 1 : 1

Oxford Sunnyside took an early lead in the 10th minute, some clever play on the wing lead to Lily Reynolds rifling the ball past Ards keeper Natalie McCullough, 0:1 Oxford.

Ards best chance of the first half fell to Emma Neill, when Dru Mallon sent her through one on one with the Oxford keeper who pulled off an excellent save at the feet of Emma.

Half Time: 0.1

Emma Neill was replaced due to injury, and this saw young Connie Donald make her debut in the red and blue. The second half saw both teams create numerous chances but both keepers were in top form.

Ards was battling hard and determined to try and get something out of the game, but they were up against an excellent Oxford defence.

In the 75th minute Ards got their equaliser, when Ards had a free kick just inside the Oxford half, it was taken by Connie Donald who laid it off to Ashley Paden, she sent an excellent ball out to Kirsten Palmer on the right her accurate ball into the box fell to Dru Mallon who laid it into the path of Caoimhe White and she dispatched it into the back off the net, 1: 1

Full Time: 1.1

Well done to all the Ladies for showing determination and resilience to get something out of the match, Ashley and I are so proud of you all.

POM: Natalie McCullough (superb today in goal)

A big thank you to a very good Oxford Sunnyside Ladies team for coming in at short notice to make our first home match possible, we would like to wish you the very best for the rest of your League season.




Ards FC Women travelled to Brookvale in Larne to play there first ever match, this was the same for our opponents, Wellington Rec Women. With the Referee pulling out at the last minute, it was agreed that Wellington's Club Referee would officiate and the match would be play in three 30 minute periods. Ards started the match very strong and were one up in the first 5 minutes. The goal came from Dru Mallon's quick pace down the left, skipping past the defender and putting the ball low into the box for Emma Neill to get on to and she despatched it into the back off the net: 0:1 Ards. 10 minutes in and Ards were two up, the ball broke to Emma Neill in the middle of the pitch and from 30 yards out she hit a shot that squirmed out off the Wellington goalkeepers hands and into the net, for Emma's and Ards 2nd; 0: 2 Ards. Ards continued to push forward with our two wingers, Dru Mallon and Kirsten Palmer giving the Wellington Defence a torrid time. Kirsten would grab Ards third just before the end of the first period, the ball was through from midfield and Kirsten's pace saw her race past the defence to get onto the ball and despatched it into the back off the net.


END OF 1ST PERIOD; 0 : 3 Ards The second period saw us make a few changes with a few niggles and girls getting game time. Wellington would pull a goal back 10 minutes in; 1 : 3 Ards. Five minutes later Ards would restore their three goal lead when again Dru Mallon was the provider and Samantha Smallwood was on hand to put the ball in the back of the net; 1 : 4 Ards. Wellington pulled another goal back even though the Wellington player was clearly offside the Referee allowed the goal to stand; 2 : 4 Ards. This seemed to get to the Ards girls and some slack defending saw Wellington score again.


END OF SECOND PERIOD; 3 : 4 Ards A major change had to be made before the start of the Final period, with goalkeeper Natalie McCullough unable to continue due to a leg injury, a young 14 year old Faith would go between the post for the final 30 minutes. Wellington equalised 10 minutes into the final period; 4 : 4. Ards then reshuffled to tighten things up at the back with Player Manager Ashley Paden slotting into Centre Back along side Victoria Gray and the ever enthusiastic Caoimhe White even with a foot injury going into right back and this seemed to do the job. Ards were back on the front foot again and grabbed a well deserved winner with 8 minutes left on the clock when Samantha Smallwood grabbed her second of the match; 4 : 5 Ards.


FULL TIME; Wellington Rec Women 4 - Ards FC Women 5 Well done all of the ladies for your first match you all worked so hard and deserved your win. Player of the match was Victoria Gray at CB who was solid. We at Ards FC Women would like to thank Wellington Rec. Women for the invite to share our 1st match together and wish them all the very best for the up and coming season. #RABA

Scorers: Dru Mallon Kirsten Palmer Emma Neill Caoimhe White


Ards FC Women made the short journey to Billy Neill Playing Fields to play Belfast Ravens III. The match was agreed to be played in three 30 minute periods. The first period got under way and the Ravens took an early lead in the first minute. Six minutes later and Ards were level with a goal from Dru Mallon. In the 11th minute Dru was on hand again, racing through from the left to slot the ball into the back of the net to give Ards the lead. A minute later Caoimhe White saw her wonderful strike come back off the post. Dru got her Hat-Trick in 17 minutes to put Ards 3.1 up. Three minutes later it was four when Kirsten Palmer broke in from the right to go through and score. It was soon five in the 22nd minute, Kirsten racing down the right sending in a perfect cross for Emma Neill to score with a wonderful header. The Ravens pulled one back in the 26th minute but a minute later Dru was at it again scoring her 4th goal of the match.


END OF FIRST PERIOD: Ravens 2 - Ards 6 The second period got under way and the Ravens pulled a goal back in the 8th minute but three minutes later Ards got number seven when Sophie put Kirsten through and with her pace she raced through to score her second of the match. 15 minutes in and Ards scored again, some excellent wing play from Kirsten on the right, firing the ball into the box for Caoimhe to get onto and place it in the back off the net. In the 21st minute it was young Dru scoring again for Ards with her 5th of the match.


END OF SECOND PERIOD: Ravens 3 - Ards 9 Three minutes into the last period Ards hit 10, Emma Neill getting her second of the match. We had nine subs tonight and managed to get them all on for some game time. Things did get a bit tricky in the last fifteen and Ravens pulled three goals back. FULL TIME: Belfast Ravens III 6 Ards FC Women 10 PLAYER OF MATCH: Dru Mallon Well done everyone tonight, a superb performance from a team only formed four months ago. There were some excellent moments tonight. A big thank you to Belfast Ravens for the match and all at Ards Women wish you the very best of luck for your league campaign.

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