Lough 41 Championship.
Ards vs Knockbreda.
Saturday 19th March at 3.00 p.m.
Just in case you didn't know, this is one of the fixtures chosen by the National Lottery Football Weekend promotion, meaning that if you bring along a friend and proof of purchase for any game run by the Lottery, your friend gets in free! For further details check the Ards F.C website or our other social media outlets.
This is a game Ards fans will want to see as we come to the crunch time of the season when the league splits into the top and bottom six. Ards are currently in sixth and are just two points ahead of seventh placed Dergview with two games to go until the split. Dergview are away to both Harland and Wolff Welders and Ballinamallard, two difficult fixtures, while after they play Knockbreda, Ards will travel to play the Welders. The impact of the fixture list so far mean that if Ards end in the bottom six they might only have one more home game, whereas a top six place at the split should mean four more home games, so it is vital for both prestige and finance that we stay in the top half of the table.
After that convincing home win against Ballyclare the Red and Blues travelled to Newry last weekend with some hope but after a bright start they eventually collapsed and suffered a 4-0 defeat that could in all truth have been worse. Matthew Tipton will no doubt make changes to the starting eleven this week as there were defensive mistakes against Newry and Ards did look a bit more threatening after the second half substitutions were made.
Knockbreda are in a poor run, having lost four of the last five, but their one point gained was at Dergview in a 3-3 draw, maybe a result Ards will thank them for if it proves crucial to the top six placings. Points are crucial for Knockbreda too, they sit in tenth place, just three points ahead of Institute who occupy the relegation play off position and they won't want to run the risk of playing the likes of Armagh City or Bangor, who currently occupy the top two places, to avoid relegation to the Premier Intermediate League.
Match Sponsors -
John Ross and Sons, Solicitors. High Street Newtownards.
Eastend Tanning, Upper Greenwell Street, Newtownards.
Ball Sponsor -
Davy Lee's Restaurant, North Street, Newtownards.
Match Officials -
Referee - Ben McMaster.
1st Assistant - Shane Geary.
2nd Assistant - Jamie Patterson.