Our U18s were defeated 3-1 by Newry City in their opening game of the NIFL Academy League at Markethill 3G.
Last year’s U16s promoted to the U18s with the additions of McCann, Kinnear, Young and Brownlee for this season started the game on the front foot and a couple of saves by the Newry keeper prevented Holywood from opening the scoring. The forward was denied what looked to be a stonewall penalty in the 15 minute mark. Ards had a number of other chances within the half as Macrory, Johnston and Martin all had efforts on goal. Newry grew into the game and had a spell of their own from 30 minutes onwards, registering a number of chances on goal but nothing troubled keeper Kinnear. Despite both teams playing some lovely football in the first half, neither side could find the net as it remained goalless.
Newry City 0-0 Ards FC
The second half started again with Ards pressure once more as MacDonald was finding joy down the wing, McCann had an effort blocked as Newry cleared their lines, their forward latching onto the ball to calmly finish into the bottom corner. With plenty of time left and changes were made to add fresh legs, Young and Murray giving the Newry defence something else to think about. We enjoyed great spells after Newrys goal and some fine saves from the keeper kept it at 1-0, on the 73rd minute mark a superb delivery by captain for the game Johnston found Holywood who volleyed home to level. Newry always looked dangerous on the counter attack but McGirr and Macrory at the back marshalled out any real danger. Ards should have went ahead minutes later, Holywood, Martin, Duckett, Murray and others involved a goalmouth scramble with the ball just failing to cross the line. The luck looked to be on Newrys side this evening as they went up the other end instantly and scored to make it 2-1. A 35 yard strike looked to be comfortable for Kinnear to save, but an unfortunate error seen the ball drop over the line. Devastated Ards kept going and pushed more men forward in search of another equaliser, but it was Newry who grabbed the games next goal to seal the win, a cross into the box was parried as the Newry forward was on hand to tap home and seal all 3 points in their opening game.
Newry City 3-1 Ards FC
Managers Words “Whilst it’s not all about results at this level of football, the boys are absolutely gutted not to be heading up the road with at least a point this evening. Great game in fairness for those in attendance played in the right manner, end to end, a couple of penalty appeals, goalmouth scrambles, late goals. We just lacked a bit of luck tonight. However we can’t fault this young group effort throughout”