• Jana McCabe

Ards 2 v 2 Ballyclare

After a disappointing defeat in the Irish Cup last week, Ards got back to life in the Championship and were aiming to make it four league wins in a row with the visit of Ballyclare.

The home side had the first chance of the game when Willy Armstrong’s free header was just off target in the first minute of play.

Nineteen minutes in, the away side took the lead when Ards captain Johnny Taylor handled the ball in the area, earning himself a yellow card and the visitors a penalty kick. Joseph Tully took the spot kick calmly finding the bottom right hand corner of the Ards net to make it 0-1.

7 minutes later confusion in the Ballyclare defence gave Michael McLellan a great opportunity, but the striker failed to take advantage of the chance. It wasnt until the 33rd that Ards equalised when Craig McMillen’s freekick found Kym Nelson at the far post and his header beat ‘keeper Ben McCauley to make it 1-1. Then Adam Gray’s strong strike made Brian Neeson pull off a great save, with Tully’s follow up shot also being denied by the Ards keeper. However Tully didn’t have to wait long to get his second when, in the forty third minute, he gave Ballyclare the lead. Confusion between Neeson and Taylor gave the striker an opportunity with Tully keeping his composure with his subtle lob finding the back of the net. The half ended 1-2. After the break, Kym Nelson’s volley from a David McAllister cross was just over the bar. Then, Tully had his close range effort denied by Neeson as both sides looked for an early second half goal. Approaching the hour mark Ards scored their second when lovely play from Eamon McAllister found his brother David who in turn found Kym Nelson whose strike was saved. The follow up shot fell to McMillen and his strong shot beat the keeper and levelled the game. As Ards pushed for the winner, David McAllister’s well placed pass gave Dylan Wilson a good opportunity but the substitute couldn’t connect with the ball. As the game drew to a close Ards had further opportunities to clinch the three points. First Michael McLellan had a great chance with 4 minutes remaining he just failed to reach a cross from the left hand side by TJ Murray. Then Ards were awarded a free kick forty yards out which McLellan took, but was unable to convert.

In injury time another David McAllister pass flashed across the face of the goal with no Ards player able to get the touch required so the game ended 2-2. Ards now move on to another home game this Friday night [17th January] against PSNI at 7.45 p.m. Starting eleven : Neeson, McMillan, McGovern, Taylor, Armstrong. D.McAllister, Nelson, T.J.Murray, E.McAllister. McMillen, McLellan.