Irish Cup - Saturday 7th January 2018. Bangor Fuels Arena
By Jana McCabe
Following the abandonment of their league clash versus Glenavon on Tuesday evening, Ards fans and players alike were hoping for both calmer conditions and a better scoreline in this Irish Cup clash. Crumlin Star are currently 10th in the NI Amateur Football League and were hoping for an upset, with at least one BBC commentator tipping a shock away victory at the Bangor Fuels Arena.
It took only 8 minutes for Ards to open the scoring after the opening exchanges though, with Michael Ruddy dispossessing the Star defence and his pass found Kyle Cherry whose shot rebounded off the post, with Ruddy slotting home the rebound.
Ards pressed for a second with good interchange between David McAllister and Ben Arthurs before McAllister's shot tested the Star keeper Ciaran McNeill.
However it was Star who scored next with a shot from the dangerous James Doyle beating Sam Johnston to level the tie in the 16th minute.
Due to injury, Scott Davidson was then replaced by Craig McMillen before more clever interchange between McAllister and Arthurs lead to the winger finding the bottom corner of the net to put Ards ahead again.
In the 31st minute a nice turn and shot from Crumlin Star's Joseph McNeill just failed to find the target. Paul Pringent was then booked for a foul on McAllister, before Barry McKervey picked up a caution. A challenge on Callum Byers then lead to Star's Joseph McNeill receiving a straight red card, with the half ending with the home side narrowly ahead.
One minute in to the second half, the struggling Cherry was replaced by Nathan Hanley. In the 54th minute Ards thought they'd scored their third with Gareth Tommons weaving past the Star defence, before McMillen's shot was saved and Hanley scored from the rebound, but from an offside position.
In the 56th minute both the Crumlin Star manager and a substitute were sent to the stands as the away side continued their aggressive approach to the game.
A minute later in the 57th minute, Ards did get their third with Tommons' calm cool and confident shot beating the away keeper. 3-1 to the home side.
Ben Arthurs was then replaced by Guillaume Keke, returning after a long break due to injury. McMillen then picked up a caution for a foul on McKervey, before Reece Glendinning's curling effort from outside the box nearly put Ards further ahead.
In the 74th minute Paul Berne's handball in the box resulted in a penalty with Ruddy's spot kick sliding past McNeill to give the Ards left-back his second of the game and to put Ards 4-1 ahead.
Just minutes later Ruddy conceded a penalty, with Kevin Trainor's shot striking the post, before Johnston superbly saved the rebound, with a further effort falling wide. Philip Savage then lived up to his name and was lucky to escape with only a yellow card following his challenge on McMillen.
4-1 to Ards, with his 2 goals earning Michael Ruddy the man of the match award. Ards' reward is a home tie versus Loughgall in the next round, with the next match a league game away to high-flying Crusaders.
Sam Johnston, Reece Glendinning, Johnny Taylor, Callum Byers, Michael Ruddy, Scott Davidson, Kyle Cherry, Gareth Tommons, David McAllister, Ben Arthurs,
Subs: Craig McMillen (for Scott Davidson), Nathan Hanley (for Kyle Cherry), Guillaume Keke (for Ben Arthurs), Unused: David Elebert & Josh Kelly