Ards 2 - Dungannon 2
By Jana McCabe.
With only two points separating today’s opponents who were placed ninth and eleventh, this clash at the Bangor Fuels Arena promised to be an early season relegation battle. There were only two changes from the Ards starting eleven at the Oval with Jonah Mitchell and Michael Kerr replacing David Elebert and Kym Nelson.
It didn’t take long for the opening goal as, in the sixth minute, Jonny Frazer was brought down by Christopher Hegarty in the penalty area with referee Evan Boyce awarding a penalty. Frazer picked himself up and calmly shot straight down the middle past Niall Morgan who dived left. 1-0 in the seventh minute.
In the seventeenth minute a great one two between goalscorer Frazer and David McAllister gave Frazer another goalscoring opportunity but his unconvincing shot was off target.
A shot from the edge of the box from Dungannon captain Hegarty trickled wide of the left hand post as the Swifts looked for an equaliser. However it was Ards who should have doubled their lead when Frazer’s one on one opportunity made Dungannon’s goalkeeper Morgan stretch to save in the twenty eighth minute.
Ards had another penalty appeal in the thirty fifth minute when Kyle Cherry was brought down by Paul McElroy but the referee waved it away to the anger of the Red and Blue Army. In the thirty sixth minute McAllister’s lovely ball to Frazer gave him a good opportunity with only Hegarty and Morgan to deny him a goal, however his shot was stopped with winger’s rebound being blocked by Hegarty.
In the forty third minute Dungannon scored their equaliser when Mark Patton’s skilful cross from the left wing found the head of Corey McMullan with his glancing header beating Johnston to make it 1-1 at the interval.
In the opening seconds of the second half, McElroy’s cross couldn’t connect with either Jonathan Lafferty or goalscorer Patton to the relief of the Red and Blue Army.
Ards’ second goal came in the fifty first minute when Kyle Cherry’s pass to Mark Kelly saw Kelly show great skill to beat Jake Dkyes. Kelly’s pass found Frazer whose shot was blocked by a Dungannon defender but the rebound fell to Kyle Cherry whose first touch found the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
A bizarre freekick saw stopper Johnston’s shot sail onto the top of the Swifts’ nets in the fifty sixth minute. Ards were then reduced to ten men in the fifty eighth minute when Kyle Cherry received his second yellow card after a badly timed tackle on Corey McMullan.
Mark Kelly’s shot from inside the box was just wide of the left hand post in the seventy second minute as Ards looked to secure all three points. McMullan’s shot then saw Johnston make a fine block with the Dungannon midfielder missing an open net from the rebound in the seventy sixth minute.
In the seventy eighth minute Dungannon scored their second when a nice one two between Taggart and McMullan saw Taggart’s shot beat Johnston to make it 2-2. Mark Patton’s close range shot was then well saved by Johnston in the ninetieth minute to deny the Swifts a late goal. The game ended 2-2 with Jonny Frazer picking up Man of The Match.
So the points were shared at the Bangor Fuels Arena as Dungannon leapfrogged Newry City off the bottom of the table, with Ards remaining tenth, two points below ninth placed Warrenpoint. Ards’s next opponents are current champions Crusaders at home next Saturday afternoon.
Starting 11- Sam Johnston, Michael Kerr, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor, Craig McClean, Jonny Frazer, Kyle Cherry, Josh Kelly, David McAllister, Jonah Mitchell and Mark Kelly.
Used substitutes: Kym Nelson (for Jonah Mitchell)
Unused substitutes: Jason Mooney, Adam McAleenan, Aaron Boyd, Ryan Strain, Michael McLellan and Gareth Tommons.
Ards yellow cards: Callum Byers, Jonny Frazer and Josh Kelly.
Ards red cards: Kyle Cherry.