NIFL Championship – 01/10/22
By Phillip Bartlett
Five Star Ards Dominate Disappointing Dergview
Dergview made the long trek east today to Clandeboye park for a traditional 15:00 Saturday kick-off, Ards buoyant after a hard-fought win last time out against Dundela while Dergview will be feeling the pressure being bottom with just 1 point from the opening 7 games. While the table would suggest an easy fixture for the home team, Ards will be wary as top of the table Loughgall scraped by with a 1-0 win back at the start of September. The season and table, while still young, is starting to take shape with Loughgall and Annagh leading the way. Ards need to keep getting the 3 points to have any hope of reeling them in. Last season Ards had disappointing results against the ‘Derg’ and will be looking for a more positive experience today.
Ards went with the same starting 11 that ran out winners last week against Dundela, not too often we’ve able to keep a regular line-up, but that can only be a good thing both for team confidence and improved performances. Daniel Reynolds misses out today through injury while Ards welcome back Conal Young to the bench following his recent spell out due to injury.
Bar the first 10 mins of this game Ards never really put a foot wrong, dominating possession, controlling the game and clinical finishing when chances came their way. Dergview missed some gilt-edged chances early on but eventually opened the scoring putting Ards on the back foot, and boy how did they respond grabbing 2 goals in 4 mins to quickly turn the game around. Ards went on to score another 2 in the first half while the second half saw both sides grab a goal apiece as the game ended in a convincing 5-2 win for the RABA. MOTM Eamon Scannell grabbed a brace, the ever-busy Hunter grabbed one to cap off another assured performance with Paddy Cafolla claiming the other first half score with a great header at the near post. Recent signing Adam Salley completed the scoring for Ards calming the ship after Dergview showed small signs of fighting back early in the second half.
Dergview defied their bottom of the table status in the first 10 minutes as they carved out several good chances to score early on, eventually taking one of these chances on 10’ when Sam Robb was allowed to cover a lot of ground, pick his spot and finish in the bottom left corner. It was poor defending from Ards who just kept backing off and off allowing him too much time and space on the ball. The early warnings not taken, and Ards behind early on. Ards quickly shook of the disappointment of going behind striking back with an equaliser just 2 minutes later through Eamon Scannell. Quite a straightforward goal with Moore launching a clearance high over the top, Scannell raced through and brought the ball under control with a brilliant first touch before sending a composed finish past the onrushing Buchanan. All square after 13’.
MOTM Eamon Scannell Celebrating after grabbing his second goal of the game
The equalising goal lifted Ards while the away team started to show some defensive frailties that have cost them through the early parts of the season and Ards quickly turned the game around on 16’ when Hunter found himself in acres of space in the 18 yd box. A brilliant ball slipped through by Calderwood found the young forward, he controlled well and hit a smart finish into the back of the net. Again, Buchanan was left really exposed and Ards punished them with some neat play. Ards were really on top and pressing their advantage, creating chance after chance, seemingly able to score at will. The ball was being moved around quickly and confidently, always finding a man in red and blue in space, with Paddy Cafolla being the next to capitalise and get his name on the score sheet. Calderwood the man with the ‘Midas’ touch today with his second assist of the day. A pinpoint Calderwood cross from the right wing finding Cafolla unmarked at the near post and his header easily beat Buchanan who was getting little to no help from his defensive line thus far. 3-1 to the home side and the home fans jubilant enjoying a fantastic Ards performance.
Kyle 'Mr Assist' Calderwood looking to get Ards on the front foot
The first half chances kept coming as did the goals as Scannell grabbed his second of the day giving Ards a 4-1 lead before the break. A freekick was awarded just outside the 18yd box slightly right of the box on 36’, Scannell stepped up and truth be told he didn’t look like he was going to miss. The effort into the top right-hand corner of the net looked effortless and was destined for goal as soon as it left his boot. Ards had the ball in the net on another occasion, but the officials ruled it out for offside, a header in the box looked clean from the side-lines but the ref ruled it out.
Ards went into the half-time break happy with a commanding 4-1 lead.
Ards made a change at the break with Ethan Taggart being replaced by Calum McVeigh, Dergview got the second half underway and immediately started on the front foot pressing Ards back in the opening minutes.
Their early endeavour was rewarded as they were given a spot kick on 49’. It was a confusing couple of minutes as the officials initially didn’t indicate any foul had been committed. It looked a foul in real-time from where I was standing, but neither the ref nor the near side lino waved for any infraction, I thought Ards had got away with one. There were quite vociferous complaints from the away side that led to the referee heading over to have a confab with his linesman and after much deliberation he pointed to the spot. Probably the right call, but a very unusual way of getting to it and it caused some upset in the home crowd. Regardless of the delay McCarron stepped up for Dergview and scored, putting it to the keepers left and into the back of the net. 4-2 early in the second half, Dergview with renewed hopes of getting back into the game.
Those hopes were quickly expunged on 57’ when Ards new front man Adam Salley grabbed our 5th goal of the game. A really smart finish inside the 18yd box, going across the goal finding the far corner, Ards restore their 3-goal advantage and lead 5-2. An important goal that killed off any chance Dergview had after a spirited start to the second half having grabbed the penalty and saw another effort crash back off the cross bar when the scores were 4-2.
Ross Hunter with another stand out performance
The rest of the second half was a much calmer affair with Ards looking to control the game, retain the ball and see it out. There were half chances for both sides in the remaining half hour, Hunter going closest for Ards on 64’, but his shot on goal was well saved. Ards were able to see the remaining minutes out, the game having been won with an excellent first half performance. The referee played 1 additional minute before bringing the game to an end.
Today’s match sponsor picked Eamon Scannell as their MOTM, with 2 great goals and a brilliant all round show it was well deserved. It must be said that Ross Hunter would have been a close second, another good showing by the young forward, great potential and grabbing himself some very important goals.
There was a great reception for the Ards team as they left the pitch by those RABA members that had turned out today. A great team display, excellent performances in all areas of the pitch. Hopefully this standard can be maintained as we move into back-to-back away games with Knockbreda up next and the lengthy trip to the Northwest to take on Institute at the Brandywell.
Another good day for the Ards Management Team
Moore, Crane, Taylor, Hall, Calderwood, Scannell, Murray, Cafolla, Taggart, Hunter, Salley
Craughwell, Arthurs, Jallow, Brown, McVeigh, Young, McKendry