Lough 41 Championship.
Ards vs Knockbreda.
Monday 27th December at 3.00 p.m.
Ards will be hoping a big holiday crowd will help them build on the morale boosting 4-2 win achieved at Ballyclare in their last game as they take on ninth placed Knockbreda. However Colin McIlwrath's team will feel they need revenge for the 3-2 defeat they suffered at Breda Park in early October. For those with short memories, Ards were down to ten men after the dismissal of Jaimie McGovern and were losing 2-0 but came back to win with a storming display and a late goal from Calvin McCurry which put Ards on top of the league. Knockbreda had been playing well at the time and indeed that defeat at the hands of Ards was their only defeat in a run of eight games. Since then both teams have been inconsistent and Knockbreda sit ninth in the table with 27 points and only two points from their last five matches. Ards are in fifth place on 36 points with seven points from their last five games. Although in fifth place Ards are only two points behind second placed Ballinamallard and the third and fourth placed teams, namely Annagh and Loughgall clash at Annagh while Ards play Knockbreda so it is a chance for the Red and Blues to make up ground on at least one of their rivals. Indeed, the league is so close that a draw at Annagh and a win for Dergview against Ballinamallard would see Ards second if they can beat Knockbreda.
Team selection will be interesting to say the least, John Bailie made sweeping changes at Ballyclare following the disappointing performance at the Welders the previous week, with Kym Nelson not even in the squad for the Dixon Park game. Nelson will come into the reckoning with John Bailie looking for the right response from the influential midfielder if selected. Club captain Jaimie McGovern is available after suspension and it is hoped that Dee Dee McAllister, Daniel Reynolds and Conall Young who all missed the game at Ballyclare through illness or injury, will be available for consideration. With the transfer window round the corner and John Bailie having said he would like one or two new faces in the squad, the existing squad members will hopefully want to prove they are indispensable and put on a good performance if given the chance.
Ards have a decent recent record against Knockbreda with four wins from the last five meetings and a repeat of the 8-0 win in the 2019 Boxing Day fixture at Breda Park would certainly be welcomed by all those in red and blue!
Match Sponsor - The Hideout Barber and Shop, North Street, Newtownards.
Ball Sponsor - John Wilton, in memory of Wilbert Graham.
Match Officials - Referee - Peter McGrath.
1st Assistant - Nick Serb.
2nd Assistant - Justin Maxwell.
General Message to all Supporters Reference Covid Guidance
Lateral Flow Testing – it is strongly recommended that everyone attending a match should take a Lateral Flow Test prior to attending
Face Coverings - it is strongly recommended that all those present at a match wear a face covering at all times including staff, club officials and spectators
Transport - those travelling to a match should not share transport with anyone outside of their own household