Ards 0 - Warrenpoint 1
By Jana McCabe
After a convincing victory over fellow strugglers Newry City a fortnight ago, and a 1-1 draw at the Oval last weekend, Ards found themselves off the foot of the table in eleventh place. Their opponents in this vital clash were Warrenpoint who currently lie in tenth place, ten points above Ards.
Ards’ first chance came in the eighth minute when a lovely ball from David McAllister fell to Mark Kelly, but his deflected shot was cleared. McAllister then had a chance of his own when his shot from range was just wide of the right hand post.
In the twenty third minute Damien McNulty brought down Ciaran O’Connor in the box with referee Jamie Robinson awarding a penalty. Warrenpoint captain Simon Kelly took the spot kick but Sam Johnston saved the weak strike to keep the game goalless.
Mark Kelly then had a two on one opportunity but his delay gave the Warrenpoint defence time to get back and resulted in his shot being saved by Jared Thompson.
Warrenpoint took the lead in the fortieth minute when Johnston rushed out of his box to try to clear the danger from an advancing Seanan Foster. However Foster cleverly worked the ball round the Ards keeper giving himself an empty net to make it 0-1.
In first half injury time Hernany Macedo Marques’s volley was well saved by Johnston, with the visitors entering the break with a one goal advantage.
In the opening stages of the second half Michael McLellan’s strike from distance was just wide of the left hand post. Then Warrenpoint keeper Thompson had to react quickly to deny Craig McClean’s shot from the edge of the box in the fifty seventh minute.
As Warrenpoint pushed for a second, Daniel Wallace’s free header from a corner was just over the bar in the seventy second minute. The away side kept the pressure on with substitute Stephen Moan’s curling effort again just over the bar.
At the other end Ards had their last chance in the eighty fourth minute when Michael Kerr’s pass to Darren Henderson saw the substitute’s header skim past the post. The rest of the game consisted of half chances with the match ending 0-1.
A disappointing performance from Ards who failed to take advantage of Coleraine beating Newry the night before. Ards’s next opponents are in-form Crusaders next weekend at the Bangor Fuels Arena.
Starting XI: Sam Johnston, Michael Kerr, Craig McClean, Damien McNulty, Johnny Taylor, Kyle Cherry, Josh Kelly, Gareth Tommons, David McAllister, Michael McLellan and Mark Kellly.
Substitutes: Callum Byers (for Damien McNulty), Brendan Bennett (for Josh Kelly) and Darren Henderson (for David McAllister).
Unused Substitutes: Matthew Davidson, Adam McAleenan, Jonathan Smith and Eoghan McCawl
Yellow cards: Johnny Taylor and Michael McLellan.