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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt

Ards 'reInstitute' Winning Ways With Dominant Display

NIFL Championship – 27/11/21

Ards kicked off a run of four straight away matches with the long trip to the Brandywell on the back of a run that has saw them pick up just one point out of a possible fifteen. Without home support until after Christmas the next period could be very telling in the title race. You have to go all the way back to September for the last time Institute got a victory, beating Queens 1-0, with their win prior to that being Ards in a tie that saw us throw it away in injury time having been comfortable throughout.

While Ards recent run is better on paper than the opponents, and with seven places separating the sides in the table going into the game, logic places Ards as favourites but reality tells a different story.

With suspensions rife in the Ards squad, several changes were made to the starting line up from the team that lost to Dergview last week. Ruiari O’Hare and Eamon Scannell were suspended, Conal Young was recalled at right back, Sam Dinu replaced Crane at left back and DD McAllister made his first competitive start for more than 18 months. Daniel Reynolds came in with the task of lone striker with Arthurs and McCurry on the bench.

For the first 30 minutes of todays game, I could have copied and pasted any number of recent

reports to cover how the game started. Ards were dominant, making chance after chance, being particularly dangerous down the left flank, but chance after chance went begging. The travelling support could be forgiven for thinking “not another week”. Thankfully those first 30 minutes are where the comparisons would have ended. Ards dominated from start to finish, and finally produced an end product that eventually saw John Bailies’ men claim a very well deserved 3-0 victory and a very welcome three points making the long journey home that much more enjoyable.

No doubt Ards fans were delighted to see DD McAllister’s name on the starting line up after such a long absence. It was like a new signing coming into the team, and you could see glimpses early on of what we had recently been missing. Within the first 10 minutes DD had put in two very dangerous crosses from the left, the first fell to Jallow whose fine strike was blocked when an Institute defender threw himself in the line of fire, the second fell to Nelson whose first touch took him away from goal and he couldn’t recover to make anything of the move. The deadlock was broken on 30’ with TJ Murray finding the back of the net with a well hit strike. DD’s corner from the right was met byFerrin whose initial effort was blocked by an Institute defender, the second ball broke to TJ in the 18- yard box, and he made no mistake, much to the relief of the travelling supporters, coaching staff, and players.

Ards continued to press, and that man DD made it 2-0 to Ards on 37’ with an unlikely headed finish. Conall Young’s cross was perfect, matched only by DDs well timed leap. His header sent back across the keeper and finding the back of the net. A well worked goal but more importantly a two goal lead that Ards efforts richly merited. It could have been three just before the break, but the Institute keeper made a fantastic fingertipped save putting DDs effort just over the bar; the ref quicklybrought the half to a close afterwards with Ards leading 2-0 at the break.

Throughout the first half Salou Jallow was having his own personal battle with Connolly in the

opposition goal and at half time the Institute shot stopper was very much winning. Jallow saw the veteran keeper make two ‘one-on-one’ saves and could well have let his head drop thinking it justwasn’t to be his day. The Ards wide man kept going and was not to be denied as on 70’ he finally got his name on the scoresheet. A brilliant effort from distance, this time giving Connolly no chance, in fact he might even be credited with an assist as it was his clearance from an Ards corner that

dropped to Jallow, his first touch got it out of his feet and the next touch was a brilliant strike into the roof of the goal. There’s no doubt his first two efforts were the easier of his chances today, but his goal was well worth waiting on and was the icing on the cake after a complete performance from the whole team. Ards saw out the rest of the half with a real degree of professionalism, and no shortage of effort.

Institute did have a couple of half chances early in the second half, reminding Ards that the game wasn’t quite over, and they should avoid complacency despite their two-goal cushion. Truth being told however, Bam remained relatively untroubled throughout the game. The match saw Institutereduced to 10 men with 5 mins to go and after the three minutes of time added-on were up, the ref brought the game to an end, Ards running out 3-0 winners. The Ards staff and players were rightly relieved and understandably happy at an overall excellent performance, taking time to applaud those that had made the long journey to the northwest.

With five games without a win, and now facing four in a row on the road, it was a welcome result and a complete performance that will give Ards, and their supporters, a much-needed boost of confidence. The other Championship results this weekend largely favoured Ards, seeing us retake second spot now with a five-point gap to table toppers Newry. Focus turns to another long ‘awayday’ with Ballinamallard hosting Ards at Ferney Park next weekend. The Mallards currently sit in 5 th in the league, just 1 point behind Ards in 2 nd , and will be looking to make a point with Ards having defeated them 3-1 in the return fixture back at the start of October.

Starting eleven:

Neeson, Dinu, McGovern, Ferrin, Young, Jallow, Cafolla, Murray, Nelson, DD McAllister,


Subs used:

Glover, Calderwood, McCurry, E McAllister, Crane

Subs not used:

Carry, Arthurs

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