BetMcClean League Cup, Round Two.
Ards vs Ballymena United.
Wednesday 14th September at 8.00 p.m.
Both sides have made inconsistent starts to their respective League campaigns so will be looking for a cup win to boost their morale. Ballymena did well in this tournament last season, beating Annagh, Crusaders and Linfield on their way to a losing semi final against eventual winners Cliftonville. It was Cliftonville of course who knocked Ards out last season by a 4-1 scoreline at Clandeboye Park on their way to that trophy success. Ards had beaten Dollingstown 4-0 in the previous round.
After opening their season with a win and a draw, Ballymena have lost their last three League games and sit in ninth position but should still be classed as favourites to win this tie, although Ards can point to 2016 when as a Championship club they knocked out two Premier League sides on their way to the Final against Cliftonville at Solitude.
The Ballymena squad has several players Ards fans will recognise, Kym Nelson was transferred last season, following Josh Kelly who joined a couple of seasons ago. Others who have appeared in the Red and Blue as loan players include Stephen McCullough, Jake Corbett and Ryan Waide. Popular ex Ards captain David Jeffrey MBE is of course the manager of the Sky Blues. Another player in the visiting squad is George Tipton, the son of Ards manager Matthew Tipton, although if he is selected family links will be forgotten for the duration of the tie.
Ards last game was a comeback 4-2 win against Queen's in the County Antrim Shield last Wednesday and home fans will be looking for a repeat of the second half performance that night when the team overcame a two goal deficit in the final half hour, albeit against ten men.
If this game is drawn after 90 minutes there will be two 15 minute periods of extra time and if the scores are still tied there will be kicks from the penalty spot.
There will be a minute's silence before the game to mark the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll.
There will also be a bucket collection for our new charity partner SANDS [Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support].
Season tickets are not valid and admission is set at £8, concessions are £5.
Match Sponsors :- The Universal Bootleggers Quiz Team.
Ball Sponsor :- Richard Donnan.
Match Officials :-
Referee :- Shane McGonigle.
1st Assistant :- George Argyropolous.
2nd Assistant :- Brian Wilson.