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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt

Ards 0 Loughgall 5 - Match Report

NIFL Championship – 19/08/22

By Phillip Bartlett

‘Loughgalling’ night for Ards as they are hit for five….

First home match of the season and a return to the Friday night lights at Clandeboye Park. There were plenty of reasons for the home supporters to head into this game in good cheer, a great result in the opening game, news of a lease being signed and one step closer to a new home back in Ards, our new home kit available for purchase (and selling well), but unfortunately events on the pitch didn’t mirror the good feeling in crowd.

Ards host Loughgall in their first home game of the season with plenty of reasons to be positive. There was a mixed bag of results against Loughgall last season, and with both teams picking up good 2-0 wins in the opening day of the season, there was plenty of potential for a thrilling game on our hands with this one.

Ards made one change from last weeks starting line up with Ethan Taggart being replaced in the middle of the park by Eamon Scannell and there was room this week for Aaron Brown on the bench. Loughgall are well known for having a well drilled, fit and strong team so plenty for Ards to be concerned about in this one.

It was a glorious evening for a game of football, the sun was shining, and it was much more suitable conditions for the teams than was last week, but unfortunately that was the only thing the home support were able to enjoy throughout the 90 minutes. I think it’s fair to say that Ards never really laid a glove on Loughgall throughout the whole 90 minutes and struggled to cope at the back as they attacked at will. When a game finishes 5-0 to the opposition and your goalkeeper is awarded MOTM, it shows just how bad it could have been. If not for Alex Moore in the Ards goal, the score line could easily have reached double figures.

Loughgall had the ball in the back of the net as early as the 4th minute, while it was well offside and ruled out by the officials, the ease with which they broke through the Ards lines should have been early warning of what was to come. Moore was called into action early on making two fantastic saves within 30 seconds of each other, the second of which was full stretch to his left to lift the ball onto the crossbar. The resulting corner was cleared by Ards and Reynolds played a brilliant ball out wide right finding Jallow who had the freedom of Clandeboye Park to run into. With just the Loughgall keeper Turker between him and the goal it was a great early chance for Ards to take the lead, but he lacked composure and tried to find the top corner of the near post. He may have been better served going across goal, as Turker was able to breath a sigh of relief as it sailed over the bar. A frantic couple of minutes that saw Ards one and only real chance in the whole game and it set the tone for the rest of the game.

The opening goal came on 19’ with Hoey finding the back of the net, Ards chasing shadows at times as Loughgall moved the ball so quickly. It was 2-0 some 8 mins later when Jamie Rea scored high in at the near post. Again, it was far too easy for Loughgall to get behind the Ards defensive line. A simple ‘one two’ as Rea laid the ball off, continued his run through two Ards defenders, received a well-timed return ball and was in one on one with Moore. The finish was emphatic and while no keeper likes being beaten at their near post it was hit well with real power high into the net.

Ferris grabbed Loughgalls third on 40’. I expect he couldn’t believe his luck finding himself in acres of space on the edge of the 6-yard box, scoring with the simplest of headers into an unguarded net. The ball was played quickly across goal and Ards were caught ball watching again. 3-0 at the break but it could have been worse as Loughgall had several other attempts at goal, Alex Moore doing well to keep the scores down with the limited protection in front of him.

Ards did have an attempt on goal right at the end of the half through Jallow. The wide man did well to protect the ball and eventually found a bit of space to get a shot on target, but it was a tame shot and Turker easily collected. Opta stat man finally registering a shot on target for the home side. 3-0 at the break for Loughgall, a huge HT for Ards to make some changes.

Ards made a double sub at half time with Scannell and Jallow making way and Ross Arthurs and Ross Hunter coming on to the pitch. Arthurs looking to hold the ball up and try and bring Ards into the game higher up the pitch.

Early stages of the second half and there were signs to be positive for the home fans. An early corner from the left sent in by Cafolla, but it was catching practice for the Loughgall keeper as not a single Ards player attacked the ball. McAllister had a half chance on 51’ after a good Ards passing move, one of very few throughout the game. Cafolla collected the ball in the middle of the park, played it out wide right to Hall who sent a ball in to the box. DeeDee met it first time and it was goal bound but just didn’t have enough on it to take it over the keeper.

Any early positive signs for Ards in the second half were quickly snuffed out as Loughgall grabbed a 4th on 55’. New signing McKendry conceded a foul in the Ards right back position, earning himself a yellow card in the process. The resulting freekick was played in deep and Aaron Walsh was able to rise above the two Ards players marking him to head in the away teams 4th of the game. Again, the defending of the set piece was questionable but the freekick was also completely avoidable. McKendry had the ball at this feet and time to clear but he dawdled and got caught eventually pulling his man back while trying to win the ball. The whole situation was easily avoided, but very much in keeping with the pattern of the game thus far.

Goal number 5 summed up the game quite well for me. Unnecessary set piece conceded, opposition players not being tracked, giving them too much time and space on the ball. This time McAllister allowed Andrade to get the jump on him from the set piece, he had so much time and space to line up a shot which found the far corner of the Ards goal via a deflection off Cafolla’s backside. A bad turn of fortune sees the ball end up in the net but again it could have easily been avoided.

After 3 mins time added on, we heard a very welcoming FT whistle, relief for the home supporters. Loughgall were good value for the win and probably a bit disappointed it wasn’t more. They were brighter and sharper all over the pitch, seemed fitter and stronger in all areas and just outplayed Ards throughout the 90.

Back down to earth with a real bump after the opening day joy and a very chastening night for Ards, it speaks volumes when your goalkeeper is named ‘MOTM’ on the back of a 5-0 defeat. We don’t have much time to dwell on it however with another tough game is just 4 days away as we travel to Annagh United on Tuesday night. Having finished 2nd last season this is another team to be very wary of, I’m hoping the team are brought together prior to that to review this game and hopefully learn something from it. Long way to go but a disappointing night for all involved from an Ards point of view.

Starting Line-up:

Moore, Crane, Taylor, McKendry, Hall, McAllister, Murray, Scannell, Cafolla, Jallow, Reynolds


Craughwell, Calderwood, Brown, Arthurs, Mullen, McVeigh, Hunter

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