By Jana McCabe
After a week off Ards looked to continue the encouraging performances seen in the last few games, with Colin Nixon naming an unchanged side from the previous game at Windsor Park. New Coleraine boss Rodney McAree watched his team from the stand for the first time after his appointment on Friday.
Ards were more dominant at the beginning with Mark Kelly’s shot from a David McAllister pass testing the Coleraine ‘keeper Chris Johns in the sixth minute. Callum Byers then had a couple of opportunities with a shot from the left hand side of the box being wide in the fourteenth minute and a scramble in the penalty area giving him another opportunity two minutes later but this time his shot was saved.
Coleraine’s Darren McCauley shot looked goal-bound but it was wide of the left post much to the relief of the Red and Blue Army. In the thirty ninth minute Coleraine had another opportunity when Jamie McGonigle’s shot pinged off the bar.
In the forty first minute great teamwork between Jonny Frazer and David McAllister saw Mark Kelly get a goal-scoring chance but the ball took a deflection off Gareth McConaghie nearly beating his own ‘keeper but Johns’s full-stretch save denied an own goal.
On the counter attack Coleraine struck the bar again with McConaghie’s header crashing off the upright in the forty second minute. However McConaghie was hurt during the scramble and had to be substituted. He was replaced by Stephen Douglas. The half ended 0-0.
Kyle Cherry opened the second half with a chance from a great position. However his left-footed shot was off target. McAllister then had a curling shot from outside the box saved by Johns as Ards looked to take the lead. Unfortunately Jonny Frazer got injured in the fifty second minute and had to be replaced by Eamon McAllister.
Ciaron Harkin’s free kick from a dangerous position was kept under control by a focused Ards defence in the fifty fifth minute.
Johnny Taylor then did well to deny Coleraine another opportunity. Recently Sam Johnston has pulled off some amazing saves and this game was no different. In the sixty first minute a Adam Mullan pass to Stephen Lowry saw his first touch well saved by Johnston much to the disbelief of the away fans.
However Johnston got hurt but, for the second game in a row, bravely played on.
Kyle Cherry was then substituted for Gareth Tommons. Coleraine started to dominate, Michael Kerr showed some great skill in the seventy second minute to deny Coleraine from testing Johnston.
In the eightieth minute a superb ball from Gareth Tommons found Mark Kelly but he couldn’t control the ball. Then on the counter attack Eoin Bradley’s shot from a scramble in the box was saved by busy Johnston in the eighty fifth minute.
Ards's last chance of the game fell to Eamon McAllister but his shot from the edge of the box was just off target. Johnston made a final crucial save just seconds before the final whistle when Darren McCauley's strong shot was heading goal bound.
The game ended 0-0 with Johnny Taylor getting Man Of The Match.
Another strong performance from Ards and a third clean sheet for Keeper Sam Johnston today who was superb again. Attentions now turn to the County Antrim Shield on Tuesday night when second in the Championship Dundela visit Clandeboye Park.
Starting 11: Sam Johnston, Michael Kerr, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor, Jonny Frazer, Kyle Cherry, Mark Kelly, David McAllister, Josh Kelly, Craig McClean and Kym Nelson.
Used substitutes: Eamon McAllister (for Jonny Frazer) and Gareth Tommons (for Kyle Cherry)
Unused substitutes: David Elebert, Michael McLellan, Jonah Mitchell, Adam McAleenan and Matthew Davidson.