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  • Writer's pictureStuart Dellow


Lough 41 Championship.

Ards vs Annagh United.

Clandeboye Park.

Saturday 4th March at 3.00 p.m.

Ards face a difficult task when they take on an Annagh United side still well in the promotion chase. Although the visitors have lost their last two games and have failed to score in their last three, they are still in third spot with 55 points, just two points behind Warrenpoint who occupy the promotion play-off place. Ards have come from difficult back-to-back fixtures away to Dergview, games which ended with a win apiece, although the fans who made the trip to Castlederg on Tuesday will wonder how a dominant display by the Red and Blues didn't bring home all three points.

Both games against Dergview showed some encouraging signs, there was some good attacking play, the work rate was impressive all over the pitch, chances were created and young Christopher McDonald had a very composed 90 minutes at left back on Tuesday, having made his full debut as a result of the dismissal of Cricky Crane late on in Saturday's game.

Failure to hold the 1-0 lead that Eamon Scannell's first half goal had given them on Tuesday means that Ards are still in the bottom half of the table, sitting in seventh place, only two points behind the two teams who are joint fifth, but only ten points ahead of the relegation play off place, currently occupied by next week's opponents Newington. With only three games left after the Annagh game before the league is split, points are therefore essential if the team want to avoid a second consecutive bottom half finish and risk being dragged into a relegation scrap.

The two displays against Dergview did bring some hope to travelling fans, there was a distinct improvement on some recent performances and there seemed more of a threat going forward, although there are still concerns in defence. Those problems are evident with only the current bottom two having conceded more than Ards and the situation won't be helped by the injury sustained by Kyle Calderwood on Tuesday which could rule him out for a while. Crane is still suspended and Greg Hall is doubtful so Matthew Tipton doesn't have many options for the back four, which will have to cope with the experienced and prolific Stephen Murray, currently on 15 goals, backed up by Taylor and McDonald who have 15 between them.

So far this season it has been honours even with both previous fixtures ending in 2-1 wins for the home side. It would be good to see a large home crowd get behind the team and cheer them on to a win.

Match Sponsor :- Jonny Red Shoes.

Ball Sponsor :- The Jewel Box, Newtownards.

Match Officials :-

Referee :- Mark Milligan.

1st Assistant :- Richard Hegarty.

2nd Assistant :- Octavian George Neacsu.

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