• Michael Barritt

Ards U18s 6 v 1 Maiden City 

Our Under 18s progressed into the semi final of the prestigious IFA Harry Cavan Youth Cup semi final following Friday evenings victory over Maiden City at Spafield Holywood, the game was originally scheduled for last Saturday however a waterlogged west winds pitch prevented it then. Ards went into the game without a win in their previous three league fixtures but started the game on the front foot as Karl Hollywood went close inside the opening five minutes. Ards opened the scoring on the 19th minute when forward Adam Munn finished well across the goalkeeper inside the box following a lovely pass from Jacob Duckett. That goal got a reaction for Maiden City and they thought they had scored shortly after only for defender Finlay Keenan who cleared off the line, at the other end Ards caused problems with the attacking threat of Hollywood, John Joe MacDonald and Jonny Murray who’s desire won his side a penalty on the 40th minute as he was fouled by the keeper, Hollywood stepped up and slotted his penalty into the bottom corner making it 2-0. Maiden City again came close to scoring themselves, keeper Corey Pollock pulled off a great save from a free kick and then minutes before the half time whistle denied them once more with another save down to his left. Half Time Ards 2-0 Maiden City After a chat at half time making the players aware that a goal for Maiden City could open the game up and give them the belief, that came on the 52nd minute when they scored from a free kick just outside the box went under keeper Pollock. That tested Ards’ character, their patience in possession and battling without the ball for the next 10 minutes led them to restoring their two goal cushion, Murray showed great desire down the left hand side before his cross fell to Munn who with time showed a calm head and blasted the ball beyond the keeper and into the net. The game became stretched after that as City pressed for a goal back, that gave Ards room in midfield to drive forward as they won a corner, from that Jacob Duckett rose above the defence but seen his header go just over the crossbar. Ards made it 4-1 on the 75th minute, Karl Hollywood broke forward and showed good close control twisting and turning before placing a left footed strike into the bottom corner. As Maiden City switched off Ards took full advantage, Duckett went short for a corner before crossing to John Joe MacDonald who headed beyond the keeper making it 5-1. With 8 minutes to go Ards made it 6, MacDonald the provider for the oncoming James Watson who directed it past the goalkeeper with his left foot as the game came to a close after that. Full Time Ards 6-1 Maiden City Goalscorers Karl Hollywood 2 Adam Munn 2 John Joe MacDonald James Watson Man Of The Match A real team performance from all involved but Jacob Duckett wins the vote by his teammates. Starting XI - Pollock (GK), Brownlee, Macrory (C), Keenan, Armstrong, Duckett, McCann, Murray, Hollywood, MacDonald, Munn Substitutes - McGirr, Watson, Young Coaches Words “Really proud of all the players effort and performance on Friday,. 6-1 may seem like a hammering, it was a lot tighter on the night, Maiden City had their chances and asked questions of our defence and keeper but we deserved the win thoroughly in the end. To get to the Harry Cavan Cup Semi Final with the majority of our squad born in 2003 in a competition eligible to 2001 born players is fantastic, it shows us as coaches that these kids are progressing well and stepping up to the occasion when called upon, they have still a brave bit to go until they are at first team level. The players showed real heart and desire in the game, they worked extremely hard off the ball, and made it difficult for City frustrating them as they resorted to going direct, when we got the ball down and moved it quickly they struggled to deal with the pace and power going forward and some of our goals were of real quality. Pleasing performance all round from the group, all contributed”

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