By Jana McCabe
After a four game unbeaten run Ards looked to continue their good recent form in this County Antrim Shield clash against a Dundela side unexpectedly riding high in the Championship. There were five changes from the side that drew with Coleraine on Saturday. Jonny Frazer, David McAllister, Mark Kelly, Kyle Cherry and Josh Kelly were replaced by Jonah Mitchell, Gareth Tommons, Adam Brown, Eamon McAllister and Michael McLellan.
Both teams had some promising chances very early on. An Eamon McAllister pass to Jonah Mitchell gave him a shooting opportunity but the ball was cleared by Matt King in the second minute while, for the visitors, William Bingham’s freekick to familiar face Carl McComb saw his shot crash off the bar.
In the thirtieth minute Dundela ‘keeper Alan Blayney was dispossessed but noone in a red and blue shirt could control the ball.
Bingham was then involved again when his strong shot forced a fine save from Ards keeper Sam Johnston in the seventeenth minute. In the twenty third minute Michael McLellan showed some great skill but his shot wasn’t strong enough to test Blayney.
In the twenty sixth minute Bingham and McComb’s interchange nearly opened the scoring when McComb’s strong shot was just wide of the right hand post. In the thirty fifth minute miscommunication in the Ards defence gave Bingham a great opportunity but his shot crashed off the left hand post.
Dundela had the last major chance of the first half but Mark McClelland’s shot caused Callum Byers to make a great header to clear the danger, with the half ending scoreless.
In the forty sixth minute a lovely turn and strike from Eamon McAllister made the Dundela stopper pull off a fine save. Then ,in the fifty seventh minute, Ards opened the scoring when Mitchell did well to keep the ball in play and a well-timed pass saw Adam Brown’s great first touch fly past Blayney.
Dundela retaliated immediately with Daniel Burns’s shot from the edge of the box making Johnston pull off a good save. The Duns continued to press with former Ards man Nathan Hanely’s spinning shot from outside the box being just wide.
Gareth Tommons then did well to clear the ball from the feet of a determined Burns in the seventy fifth minute. King then tried his luck from outside the box but Johnston’s flying save denied him the equaliser.
Mark Kelly showed some great skill to trick a number of Dundela defenders but his shot was blocked by the ‘keeper in the closing stages of the game. The match ended 1-0 with Ards fortunate to proceed to the next round of the County Antrim Shield.
So, a close game against an impressive Dundela side. Next up for Ards is Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park in a crucial clash when hopefully a more convincing victory awaits.