Carrick 1 - Ards 0
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
By Jana McCabe
Ards entered this relegation playoff on a four game unbeaten run, while opponents second placed Championship side Carrick are unbeaten in nine.
Ards had the first major chance when a through ball provided Michael McLellan with a great opportunity but his first touch was too heavy and gave the Carrick defence time to clear the danger.
Carrick opened the scoring in the tenth minute when their first corner, taken by Reece Neale, was headed home by Michael Smith to make it 1-0.
In the sixteenth minute Carrick had already made two substitutes and Ards nearly got an equaliser when McLellan’s strike in front of goal was deflected out by familiar face Aaron Hogg.
Then Josh Kelly’s freekick was headed on by Damien McNulty but again Hogg was able to deny Ards an equaliser. Kyle Cherry’s powerful shot was then saved in the twenty ninth minute.
In the thirty fourth minute Gerard Kelly’s run and close range shot made Sam Johnston produce a fine save. Carrick had the last chance of the half when Caolin Coyle’s volley from the edge of the box was wide of the right hand post. The half ended 1-0 to the home side.
In the opening minutes of the second half Eamon McAllister’s freekick was well saved by Aaron Hogg with the rebound falling to Ards captain Johnny Taylor who slid the ball into the back of the net. However, the referee ruled the goal out.
Then, in the sixty second minute Josh Kelly’s long throw in saw Damien McNulty brought down in the box with the loud travelling Red and Blue Army appealing for a penalty but Tony Clarke waved away the appeal. In the sixty ninth minute Cherry’s header was headed on to Mark Kelly but his strong header was just wide of the right hand post.
In the seventy seventh minute Ards arguably had their best chance of the game when Mark Kelly gave substitute Darren Henderson a great opportunity. However his chance right in front of goal was wide of the right hand post to the despair of the away support.
In the eighty second minute Ards had their last chance of the game when Eoghan McCawl’s volley from the edge of the box was off target. Then Carrick had the last chance of the game when Neale’s strike from close range was over the bar. The game ended 1-0.
A disappointing performance from Ards who go into the home tie a goal down. The second leg will take place on Monday 6th May at the Bangor Fuels Arena. Kick off is 7:45 so come down and support the Red and Blues as they look to turn around the one goal deficit.
Starting eleven: Sam Johnston, Michael Kerr, Eamon McAllister, Johnny Taylor, Damien McNulty, Craig McClean, Kyle Cherry, Josh Kelly, Gareth Tommons, Eoghan McCawl and Michael McLellan.
Used substitutes: Mark Kelly (Michael McLellan), Kym Nelson (for Kyle Cherry) and Darren Henderson (for Eamon McAllister).
Unused substitutes: Matthew Davidson, Callum Byers, Adam McAleenan and Jourdan Shearer.