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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt


Our Under 18s made the long trip to Fisher Park on Friday as they faced Ballinamallard United in the NIFL Academy League. Both sides met in October with Ards winning the game 9-0 at Londonderry Park, however the Ducks have seen a real improvement recently picking up 7 points in their last 3 games. A depleted Ards 18s side hit with injuries and illness went to Enniskillen with only 11 players and got off to a great start when Karl Martin arrived late at the back post to finish off a Jacob Duckett cross in the tenth minute. They enjoyed lengthy spells on the ball inside the opening 30 minutes and created a number of chances but failed to find the net following some fantastic saves from the Ballinamallard keeper. The Mallards looked to catch Ards on the break on occasions and had 6 corner kicks in the first half that the defence and goalkeeper dealt with. Half Time Ballinamallard 0-1 Ards A chat at the break and a chance to reenergise for a tough second period started with Ballinamallard being more direct, Ards struggled to hold the ball up and found themselves defending for a period of time but there weren’t very many shots on Ryan Dalzell’s goal. A change in Ballinamallards shape with their attempt to push men forward would leave them vulnerable at the back, and with Ards creating chances in abundance Martin grabbed his second, similar to his first he arrived late to finish Karl Hollywood’s cross. Ards continued to create chances and the game should have been wrapped up only for some more fantastic goalkeeping from the Mallards stopper and on occasions poor finishing but they managed to see out the game and come back up the road with 3 points. Full Time Ballinamallard 0-2 Ards Man Of The Match Karl Martin Goals Karl Martin 2 Starting XI - Dalzell (GK), Keenan, Macrory (C), Weatherup, Duckett, Martin, Watson, McCann, Higginson, Hollywood, Munn Managers Words: “The effort from all 11 players was tremendous tonight. A tough place to come, we knew with their recent results and given the scoreline the last time we met it was going to be a different Ballinamallard side this time around. They played some good football at times and have some very good players. Our defence defended resolutely, midfielders won a lot of scraps and supported the forwards. We created plenty of chances, our only gripe was that we didn’t take them. When you miss chances like we did tonight, it gives the opposition belief, thankfully it wasn’t the case this time around and it’ll give us something to talk about during the week in the hope of sharpening it up going forward.”

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