County Antrim Shield – 11/10/22
By Phillip Bartlett
Quick starting Glens get themselves a semi…
Short Championship hiatus as we entertain one half of the ‘Big Two’ in the quarter final of the county Antrim shield with Glentoran making the short trip over from the East of Belfast. A great draw for Ards and their supporters who have missed competitive games against the big Premier League sides since their relegation to the Lough 41 Championship. The Glens are flying high in the IPL, sitting second with a game in had but will have more than 1 eye on their big game on Friday night as they travel to Windsor Park to take on the current champions.
Having a settled side in the league Ards have found a run of form of late, but the CAS provides manager Tipton a chance to get those fringe players some more game minutes and face a tough test against top opposition with no less than 9 changes being made. Only Cricky Crane and Paddy Cafolla, captain for the night, remain in the starting 11, but Ards did have some backup on the bench should it be necessary later in the game. The Glens also made significant changes as well with the big two clash just 72 hours away.
Ards ran out 4-1 winners in their last game away to Knockbreda, it was the same score line in this one but in favour of the visitors as Glentoran were comfortable winners in the end. While a convincing win, after the opening 4 mins I’m sure both fans and players were fearing the worst as we found ourselves 2-0 down early on. Ards were second best in most areas as Glentoran moved the ball quickly and exposed Ards in a number of areas seemingly scoring at will early on. After the initial salvo Ards did dig in a bit and stemmed the tide, even manging to pull one back towards the end of the first half. While the scoring wasn’t as free flowing as it was in those early stages it was pretty plain sailing for the premier league team throughout.
Ards Aaron Brown attacking the Glens back line
4 opening minutes and 2 goals for Alistair Roy and the game was almost settled as contest with 86 left to run as Ards were caught on the back foot, Glentoran looking to end this one early. The first goal was football at it’s most basic, McLaughlin picking the ball up in the middle of the park, allowed to turn and move into space he picked out Roy wide right Crane backed off while trying to show him down the outside; Roy came inside and hit a sweet strike with his left peg finding the corner of the net, Craughwell unable to stop it at his near post. A setback for ards with just 56 seconds on the clock, 1-0 down. It didn’t get any better for the home side as just 3 mins later Roy was at it again. Glentoran were given time on the ball in their own half passing it from side to side before Devlin spotted the run of Roy. His ball over the top was perfect as was the run to avoid the offside trap. Roy took the ball down and cut inside the recovering McKendry with a neat back heel giving himself the time and space to curl the ball around the keeper into the far right of the net. Glentoran 2-0, both by Ali Roy.
Ards stemmed the flow keeping Glens at bay but still controlling the game and holding on to the ball, Ards getting very few changes in the half. Unfortunately, any they did make were wasted with poor delivery in advanced areas. Young went closest for Ards in the first half when his cross-come-shot skimmed off the cross bar. Whether he was going for goal only he will know but he nearly caught Webber out in the Glens goal as he had to quickly back track to make sure his goal mouth was safe. Reynolds also had a chance at the near post following good work by Jallow down the right. The pacey winger managed to get on the end of Youngs ball up the line and flash a ball across the box, Reynolds had timed his run across his man well but couldn’t get there as Roy did just enough to get back and clear the danger. Ards cracked again on 25’, this time a really well worked goal by Glentoran and a fabulous finish at the end for young Kirk Mclaughlin. The ball was played wide right and as fast as Aaron Brown is he couldn’t make up the distance to prevent the cross. The ball was played in and McLaughlin watched it all the way before latching onto it with a perfectly controlled right foot volley directing it into the far corner of the net with so much pace that Craughwell couldn’t react in time. Glens 3-0 with 20 mins left of the 1st half.
There were more chances for the Glens before the break, Ards lucky not to be 4 or 5 down as Craughwell had some luck but also made some good stops when called upon. Roy was close to a first half hattrick but his lob over the keeper when one on one hit the upright and Craughwell was able to get back and claim the ball. Ards did pull one back in the last minute of the with a cool finish by Daniel Reynolds. Jallow caught Glens captain napping and nipped in to win the ball, a bit of luck saw it bounce through to Reynolds who muscled past his defender and finished well past Webber. Finally, something for the home crowd to cheer after a tough first half where we were very much second best.
Ards goal scorer Daniel Reynolds
The ref blew up for half time shortly after, Glens taking a 3-1 lead into the break. There were no changes made by either side at half time and the visitors got the game going again.
Glentoran started the 2nd half just as quickly and flashing a shot into the side netting within the first minute, wrong side of the net thankfully for Ards. While not as clinical in the second half Glentoran, somewhat expectantly, still created most of the chances. Danny Purkis was busting to get on the sheet going close at the near post on 78’ but Craughwell did well, stayed big as long as he could to make a great stop.
Moving into the latter stages and Glentoran made several subs showing just the strength of their squad with the likes of Marcus Kane, Bobby Burns and Shea McCartan coming on. McCartan provided the assist for Glentoran to get their only goal of the second half as Purkis finally converted, with a huge slice of luck it has to be said. Freekick from the edge of the box was played in by McCartan, going for goal, Craughwell did well to make the initial save but was only able to palm it onto the onrushing Purkis and it was carried into the net. Glens 4-1 with 5 mins left on the clock.
There was no time added on and when the 90 was up the referee brought the game to close, a comfortable night for Glentoran who march on into the semi-final where they will meet the Blues for a chance to make the CAS final. Ards MOTM as selected by the match sponsor was Conal Young
Ards team MOTM Conal Young
A nice diversion for the side, hosting one of the big boys at Clandeboye park, but back to the bread and butter at the weekend as we have a long trip to the Northwest at the Brandywell taking on Institute. I expect a return to the norm in terms of the starting line up having had the same 11 starting for the last 3 games.
Craughwell, Crane, McKendry, Mullen, Young, Brown, Cafolla, McVeigh, Jallow, Arthurs, Reynolds
Moore, Boyd, Hall, Calderwood, Hunter, Scannell, Murray