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  • Jana McCabe

Ards 1 v 3 Carrick

Ards began their 2020 campaign with a break from the league as they faced Carrick Rangers in the Irish Cup, looking to avenge their defeat to the same opponents at this stage of last season's competition. Five minutes in, the away side took the lead when a Reece Neale corner found unmarked Mark Surgenor at the near post who cooly headed home to make it 0-1. As Ards pressed for an equaliser, Craig McMillen’s attempt from range was saved by the new Carrick keeper Harry Doherty. Carrick responded and Gerard Kelly’s run and strike looked dangerous before William Armstrong was able to block the danger and keep the game 0-1. On 15 minutes Michael McLellan’s volley from range landed on the roof of the net while, at the other end, Stewart Nixon’s volley was denied by Brian Neeson. Ards continued to look dangerous and had the last chances of the half with both David McAllister and McMillen having their strikes from inside the box saved by the Carrick stopper. The first half ended 0-1. Early in the second half McLellan’s attempt from inside the box was just wide of the left hand post. Minutes later a lovely ball from familiar face Guillaume Keke found Nixon, whose strong strike was denied by Neeson. Despite Ards having a good share of the play the visitors doubled their lead in the 57th minute with a similar goal to their first when Caolan Loughran was able to head the ball into the back of the net following a corner to make it 0-2. Just six minutes later Ards deservedly got one back when a pinpoint cross from player of the month for December David McAllister connected with McLellan whose close range header found the back of the net to make it 1-2. As Ards looked to level the game Doherty produced a fine save to deny Armstrong’s free header on 69 . 2 minutes later another set piece proved the home side's undoing as Lloyd Anderson’s strike found the roof of the net after a long throw and flick-on to re-establish Carrick’s two goal lead. With 13 minutes remaining , TJ Murray had a great opportunity but under pressure from a defender, his strike could only find the post from right in front of the goal. As the game drew to a close, Kym Nelson’s free header in time added on was saved so the score remained at 1-3. Craig McMillen was awarded the Ards Man Of The Match by match sponsors FB Motors. Ards’ first defeat under John Bailie sees them out of the Irish Cup. Next up is Ballyclare Comrades at the Bangor Fuels Arena on Saturday 11th of January at 3.00p.m.

Starting eleven : Neeson, McMillan, Taylor, McGivern, Armstrong. D.McAllister, T.J.Murray, Nelson, E.McAllister. McMillen, McLellan.

Subs used : Calderwood, D.Wilson and Harris.

Subs unused : Dalzell, Craig, Jallow and McConnell.

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