Ards 2 - Linfield 1
By Jana McCabe
When Ards met Linfield at the National Stadium in early September, the Red & Blues secured a hard fought away point. This time round, with injury problems for the home side gradually starting to disappear, second from bottom Ards looked to take much-needed points from title contenders Linfield.
A fifth minute substitution saw Eamon McAllister leave the field through injury and he was replaced by Jonah Mitchell.
However it didn’t take Ards long to have their first chance and first goal of the game when Josh Kelly’s skilful play beat Kirk Millar. His pass found Jonah Mitchell and his accurate cross connected with the head of Mark Kelly whose header sailed past Roy Carroll into the top right corner to make it 1-0 in the ninth minute.
Linfield’s Matthew Clarke’s shot curled wide of the left post in the nineteenth minute as Linfield looked for a leveller. Linfield then had a goal disallowed for offside when Daniel Kearns’s free kick saw Joshua Robinson’s header find the back of the net.
In the thirtieth minute, great work from David McAllister saw him beat three defenders with Josh Kelly’s shot from the edge of the box just off target. McAllister had another opportunity in the thirty seventh minute but his shot from outside the box was just over the bar.
Clever play from Kym Nelson found Josh Kelly in a dangerous position, with his smart pass finding Craig McClean whose shot was saved by Linfield stopper Carroll in the forty second minute. The half ended 1-0.
In the forty ninth minute, Joel Cooper’s shot inside the box was well saved by Johnston. Three minutes later Andrew Mitchell’s curling cross couldn’t connect with any of the Linfield players in the box as they pushed for a equaliser.
Gareth Tommons’s corner found David Elebert whose strong header was off target in the fiftieth minute. In the sixtieth minute Johnston came out of his net to stop Robinson’s shot as the end to end action continued.
It was Linfield who scored next in the sixty sixth minute when Joel Cooper’s curling cross to substitute Niall Quinn saw his shot find the back of the net to make it 1-1.