PLAYR-FIT Teamwear Championship.
Ards vs Ballinamallard.
Saturday 9th December at 3.00 p.m.
Tommy Canning who stepped down from his post as manager of Dergview following their 4-2 defeat at the hands of Ards in mid September, was installed as manager of Ballinamallard at the end of October and brings his new team to take on Ards looking to maintain a recent improvement in form and perhaps a repeat of their last visit to Clandeboye Road when they beat Bangor 3-0 just a few days before Canning took over. Canning is only the fourth different manager at Ferney Park in the last 30 years but a run of poor results cost Harry McConkey his position at the club. Ards 5-1 League Cup win in early October was part of that bad run. A few days after that game Ards were back on the road to take on Ballinamallard again and this time they played out a 1-1 draw in the League.
Ards fans will wonder what they are going to see on Saturday, will it be the kind of performance that recently blew away Dundela and the Welders, with seven goals scored and none conceded, or will it be a repeat of the 4-1 defeat at the hands of Newington when they travelled to Inver Park last week? The sizeable Ards support that went to Larne must have felt let down by the first half performance and although the half time changes brought an improvement in the second half, in all truth the game was over after 45 minutes and Newington didn't need to exert themselves to hang on to their lead.
Ballinamallard are one place and one point ahead of Ards and they have a game in hand so the Red and Blues really need to win this one, but how often has that been said this season? At the time of writing Ards have played more games than any other team in the division, but are five points behind sixth placed Ballyclare who have one game in hand and a full 14 points behind table toppers Dundela who have two games in hand, the same Dundela that Ards have beaten twice this season! It's been said before this league throws up some very inconsistent results, but it seems as if Ards are taking it to the extreme!
While Ards were capitulating against Newington last Saturday, the Mallards beat Annagh 2-0, although over the last five games both Ards and the Ducks have picked up seven points so given recent form and league positions on paper there is little to choose between them, so given there have been two previous meetings between the sides this season, as in the title of the 1977 film, could this be a Close Encounter of the Third Kind?
Match Sponsors :- Eakin Healthcare, Ballystockart Road, Newtownards.
Ball Sponsor :- D. Heron Plastering, Newtownards.
Match Officials :-
Referee :- Shane McGonigal.
1st Assistant :- Jason Millar.
2nd Assistant :- Richard Hegarty.