After 31 weeks without a competitive game, senior football returned to the Bangor Fuels Arena with Ards facing Lisburn Distillery in a first round County Antrim Shield tie.
It was a perfect start for the away side as, 12 minutes in, James Wright’s freekick from a dangerous position found the bottom left-hand corner to make it 0-1.
Then Eamon McAllister’s well-timed pass found new signing Daniel Reynolds, but his header was easily saved by Jonah Nicholl.
The Whites’ Michael Withers was testing the Ards defence down the left wing with his run and strike just over the bar in the twenty second minute. Then Craig McMillen found himself in a great position, but his strike was blocked by the alert Nicholl.
Goalscorer Wright looked for a second but his shot from the edge of the box was just over the bar in the forty first minute. The last chance of the half fell to Ards but Kym Nelson’s looping freekick was off target so the half ended 0-1. A lethargic first half from the home team would require some changes in the 2nd half if they were to overcome the Intermediate side .
Early in the second half Daniel Reynolds’ strike from close range made the Whites’ keeper produce a great save to keep the away side in the lead.
Salou Jallow had certainly made an impression after his introduction and as a result Ards started to look more cohesive and dangerous,
And on 74 minutes Ards equalised when Kym Nelson’s freekick was flicked on by Ruari O’Haire to Craig McMillen whose header found the top left corner, 1-1!
A strong strike from Distillery substitute Caolan Young was then saved by Devine as both sides looked for the winner. Ards had multiple chances in the last five minutes but they lacked that finishing touch.
However, in the last minute of play, Ards were awarded a penalty when Darius Roohi was fouled in the box. McMillen took the spot kick with his original attempt being saved but ‘Whack’ knocked in the rebound to beat Nicholl and put Ards in the lead. The game ended seconds later, 2-1.
So a late penalty sends Ards through to the next round to play Glentoran at the Oval on Tuesday night at 7.45 pm.
Ards: Devine, Young, Dinu, McGovern, McMillen, Nelson, Ferris, Reynolds, E. McAllister, Magill, O'Haire.
Subs used : Roohi, Jallow.
Subs not used : Neeson, Brown, Glover, Calderwood, McBriarty.