NIFL Championship – 28/02/23
By Phillip Bartlett
Falconer swoops late on as Dergview fly away with all 3 points
A late Dergview double sees the double header spoils split after chaotic scenes late on.
Another 200-mile round trip out west within 4 days sees Ards return to Darragh park after leaving with a creditable 3-2 victory on Saturday. A depleted squad but we should still make the trip full of confidence after earning their first win of the calendar year and well placed to get back-to-back wins for the first time since October when we secured 3 wins in a row that included a 5-2 victory over todays hosts Dergview. That said, Dergview will consider themselves unlucky not to have taken something from the first fixture and will be looking to make amends second time around. With only 4 games left after this one before the Championship splits in half, it’s important Ards keep up the momentum or run the risk of finishing in the bottom half for 2 consecutive seasons.
A red card for ‘Cricky’ Crane on Saturday sees the inclusion of Christopher McDonald in the left back berth, one of two changes made to the starting line-up. Daniel Reynolds comes in to the starting eleven, replacing the inform Salou Jallow, his omission also being forced upon Tipton. Jallow takes up his place on the bench. We are without Conal Young for this one as well, making space on the bench for youth players Jay Boyd and David Clarke, taking a place on the first team bench for the first time. Captain TJ Murray continued his recent run at centre half, pairing up again with recent signing Karl Hamill. Ethan Taggart was comfortably Ards MOTM on Saturday but was out on his feet at the final whistle, he’s back and at it for this one hoping for a repeat performance.
Christopher McDonald replacing the suspended Cricky Crane at left back
Historically the sequel is never as good as the original release and so it proved again with Dergview vs Ards part II, the visitors facing the long journey home empty handed this time round. Looking on course to secure an impressive double over the ‘Constitutes’ Ards were hit with two late goals in 4 minutes to turn the game on its head. As with Saturday this game was not without incident, including an unfortunate injury to Ards full back Kyle Calderwood which could well result in a long spell on the side-lines. Ards were the better side in the first half and very much deserved their lead going into the interval despite it coming so late in injury time. Up until that point Eamon Scannell and Dergview keeper Patrick McGarvey had been having a right old tussle, McGarvey coming out on top thus far. Scannell had the last laugh of the half, converting just before the break. The second half was a much tighter affair, both teams having their chances throughout, but as the half went on it was clear that Ards were dropping off allowing Dergview to take control towards the end. That dominance eventually told as Dergview sub Bobby Deane grabbed an equaliser on 83’ to set up a grand stand finish. Ards were undone again some 4 minutes later, Garth Falconer grabbing a late winner with a great solo effort. There were 5 minutes added on at the end of the second half, still time for Ards to hit back, but despite creating some good chances they were unable to find the finish when it mattered.
Ards dominated the chances in the first half, Eamon Scannell with the pick of them, but the main talking point of the first half was the injury to Kyle Calderwood just after the 12’ minute mark. It looked a fairly innocuous challenge initially, but judging by his reaction it was clear he was in trouble as both team physios ran across the pitch to provide treatment. He was eventually able to get to his feet, with assistance, and make his way into the changing rooms, being replaced by Ben Mullen at right back. To add insult to injury Calderwood was shown a yellow card as he was leaving the pitch, having caused the injury to himself while apparently fouling the opposition. The game resumed after the short stoppage and there were chances at both ends to break the deadlock. Eamon Scannell had several chances throughout the first half, but he was unable to beat McGarvey in the ‘View goal.
Ards Eamon Scannell helping out at the back as well as being Ards most likely goal scorer
Dergview went close to an unexpected lead, Ards again sloppy at the back when defending a set piece. Caolan McLaughlin took the corner from the Dergview right sending it deep to the back post. Dean Corrigan found himself all alone with a free header some 8 yards out just beyond the back post. He put his header back across goal looking for the far corner, but Ards had players on the line that were able to clear the danger. Worrying signs at the back again letting the big centre half roam around free in the box. Scannell was again picking up great positions and really should have opened the scoring on 27’ when he was fortunate enough to be on the end of an inadvertent pass by a Dergview defender. Taggart did well to get his cross in from the right, looking for Reynolds. The striker tried to let the ball come across his body and connect with his left foot but got it all wrong allowing Buchanan in to win the ball. The challenge resulted in the ball being played through to Scannell but as was the story of the half McGarvey had taken up a great position and was able to dive and collect the ball at Scannell’s’ feet.
There was close to 4 minutes of time added on indicated at the end of the first half as a result of the stoppage early in the half and while Ards did take the lead they really should have went into the break 2 goals to the good as Paddy Cafolla saw his excellent shot saved well by McGarvey before the ball bounced up seemingly hitting the hand of a Dergview defender on the line. Not only that, but there were also claims that the ball was some distance over the line and either a goal or penalty should have been awarded. Unfortunately for Ards neither claim was rewarded and Dergview were able to clear their lines, the score remained 0-0. It didn’t stay that way for long though, that man Eamon Scannell finally getting the better of McGarvey as he lifted the ball off the ground finishing in the side netting. Ethan Taggart was involved in everything good Ards were doing and he was the creator for this one too. Eventually playing the ball to Scannell in the box the wide man was able to take a touch, turn onto his favoured left foot, making no mistake with the finish this time.
Ards celebrate after Eamon Scannell opened the scoring just before the break
The 4 mins of time added on were over just as the game restarted, the referee taking us into the interval Ards 1-0 up.
No changes for Ards at the break, and the away side restarted the game from the centre circle.
It was all Ards in the opening stages of the second half, kicking on from where they left off at the end of the first, Reynolds and Salley really should have done better in the final third with the chances afforded them. 50’ in Paddy Cafolla with a clever turn just past the halfway line took him away from two markers allowing him to make a run towards the goal. With the defence backing off he looked to play the through ball to Salley who was on the shoulder of the last man. It was a great pass to pick him out but unfortunately he lost his footing at the crucial moment allowing the challenge to come in. Small hint at a penalty from some in the crowd but there were no complaints from anyone in red and blue. Cafolla was at it again a few minutes later, this time sending Eamon Scannell through again. Scannell collected the ball and was able to skip round the onrushing McGarvey but couldn’t finish as he was forced wide. He laid the ball back into Reynolds in the box who hit a fierce shot at goal, but McGarvey had done really well to recover his ground and made a good save down low.
While Ards were looking good to add to their 1-0 lead up front they were still proving vulnerable at the back. On 63’ Ben Mullen missed his header, a really simple attempted ball over the top that should have been cleared. It allowed Dergview to get beyond the back line the ball being cut back to the waiting Jamie Browne on the edge of the box. He had sufficient time to pick his spot, curling his shot just wide of the far post. Ards escape but further danger signs were there. Ards continued to try and play football and were on course for another valuable 3 points until the last 10 mins when things turned on their head. 83’ mins in Dergview grabbed their equaliser through substitute Bobby Deane. It was a good flowing move with a decent finish to boot, high and decisive over the exposed Moore, but again Ards should have been more clinical in their challenges, clearing the danger at earlier opportunities.
Daniel Reynolds brought in for this one keeping the Dergview back line honest
With 5 minutes to go Dergview had their tails up and were piling the pressure on, Garth Falconer eventually putting the home side in front for the first time in the dying minutes. Falconer was able to get past Mullen too easily, reaching the by-line before cutting in towards goal and finding the back of the net. His strike was from a really tight angle and Moore will be disappointed to have been beaten at his near post. 2-1 the scoreline with just a few minutes left plus a minimum of 5 minutes time added on. Ards had a couple of half chances in the dying minutes to hit back and grab an equaliser but none of the efforts really tested McGarvey in the Dergview goal. The match ended 2-1 to Dergview, the double header ending 1 win a piece.
It was clear as the game progressed that some of the Ards players were starting to tire after a really hard fought win on Saturday. Combine that with players missing out through injury and suspension and it was always going to be a tough game against a very physical side. Ards did compete well, played some decent football and creating some good chances in both halves and on another day, they could easily have scored 3 or 4. Despite the improved showing up front there are still questions to be asked about the back line, individual mistakes seemingly costing us in each game.
Easy take for the Ards #1. Disappointed to have conceded late on....
With ours the only game of the evening there has been no movement in the table and next time out we entertain third placed Annagh United at Clandeboye Park. No easy games in the Championship this season, and with Annagh sitting 18 points ahead of Ards we are actually closer to bottom of the table Knockbreda than promotion chasing Annagh. It will be a tough game in a season of tough games, one that under fire manager Matthew Tipton will have little time to prepare for and after Calderwood’s injury tonight to add to the list, personnel might also be limited.
Moore, McDonald, TJ Murray, Hamill, Calderwood, Taggart, Cafolla, Steele, E Scannell, Salley, Reynolds
Shields, Mullen, Jallow, Arthurs, Boyd, Clarke, C Scannell