Our Under 18s faced Coleraine on Friday evening at Londonderry Park in the NIFL Academy League. Oran Magee started as after missing last weeks game through injury, fellow centre back partner Aaron Macrory missed out after fracturing his thumb with John Joe MacDonald missing out with a groin injury. Jamie Moody, James Armstrong, Ben Young and Johnny Murray all start with the squad rotated from last weeks defeat to Newry.
They got off to the worst possible start conceding inside 19 seconds, Coleraine midfielder picking the ball up from 25 yards out and drilling a fantastic strike into the top corner. Coleraine were defo quicker off the blocks and made it 2-0 almost instantly, Ards failed to deal with a long ball forward and the Coleraine striker finished past Moody in goal. Coleraine were given the chance to make it 3-0 on the 8 minute mark from the penalty spot after Duckett was adjudged to have handled it inside the box, Coleraine converted their spot kick sending the keeper the wrong way. Leaving themselves a mountain to climb following a crazy opening 10 minutes Ards finally got going, Murray was unlucky with a shot from distance, with it going just over the crossbar. Murray and Holywood both had shots on the half hour mark that never troubled the Coleriane keeper. Ards played some lovely football in the first half from defence into midfield but failed to get close enough to support Murray in the final third.
Ards 0-3 Coleraine
A half time team talk followed by a change of shape and personnel gave Ards an instant lift in the second half, Holywood made it 2 goals in 2 games as he finished off inside the box following a Magee knockdown. Ards continued to have the majority of the ball in the early stages of the second half, followed by a number of chances. Holywood, Martin, McCann and Johnston all with shots on goal. We had a great chance shortly after, Magee played a lovely cross from deep, Murray however couldn’t direct his effort on target. On the 65th minute mark we grabbed another goal back, great build up initially before Hollywood’s ball was finished off at the back post by Karl Martin, they say you are most vulnerable when you have just scored, that appeared to be the case as a minute later Coleraine restores their 2 goal cushion finishing inside the box. Coleraine game management was a lot better in the later stages off the game, no longer panicking in possession and making Ards work to get the ball back. Despite a late flurry of pressure Ards couldn’t quite find the net late on as Coleraine seen the game out and travel back up the road with the 3 points.
Full Time Score
Ards 2-4 Coleraine
Starting XI - Moody (GK), Armstrong, McGirr, Magee, Johnston, Martin, Duckett (C), McCann, Young, Holywood, Murray
Substitutes - Kinnear (GK), Brownlee
Managers Words “Another hard result to take. Another game were we had more possession, more shots on goal and on target. A crazy opening 10 minutes to concede 3 goals and give ourselves an uphill task. The players to their credit esp with only 12 available this evening gave a good account of their ability on the ball, passing and interchanging in possession and created chances. There is however another side of the game were we need to be mentally and physically tougher to not concede goals the way we are. There is a great work ethic amongst this young group though and their attitudes are there to match it. Results like tonight and last week will be great learning for them in this league”