Lough 41 Championship.
Ards vs Institute.
Friday 18th February at 8.00 p.m.
A first home game under new manager Matthew Tipton and a first home game for fans and players for almost four weeks sees Ards face Institute under the Friday night lights at Clandeboye Park.
The teams last met at the end of November when Ards ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, fans who made the trip will remember a good performance with a superb strike from Salou Jallow and a rare header from Dee Dee McAllister as the highlights. The other goal that day was scored by TJ Murray who is still on the injured list.
Unusually for this season it seems that the injured TJ will be the only player unavailable for consideration for this game as Benny Igiehon and Christopher Crane have served the suspensions imposed for the red cards they received late on in the defeat at Queens that saw the end of John Bailie's reign at Ards. The subsequent appointment of Matthew Tipton has seen Ards win impressively at Loughgall and then lose narrowly at Ballinamallard, although in truth the final 2-1 scoreline flattered Ards who once again didn't take the half chances that came their way early on and were punished by a Ballinamallard side that deserved the three points.
Since that game at the Brandywell both teams have played nine League games with identical outcomes, having both earned two wins and two draws while suffering five defeats. However Ards good start to the season sees them in sixth place in spite of that poor recent run, two points ahead of seventh placed Dergview. Staying in the top half is surely the minimum requirement for Tipton and his men, who coincidentally have a trip to Dergview next on the agenda after the Institute game. Institute occupy the relegation play-off place at present and are five points behind Dundela in tenth, with the Duns having a vastly superior goal difference, so for different reasons this is a vital game for both sides.
Hopefully a big Friday night crowd will be in attendance to cheer the Red and Blues to a much needed win.
Match Sponsor - Johnny Red Shoes.
Ball Sponsor - NorthRoad Hand CarWash, Newtownards.
Referee - Mark Milligan.
1st Assistant - Richard Hegarty.
2nd Assistant - Aaron Graham.