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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt

Dergview 2 Ards 3 – Match Report

NIFL Championship – 25/02/23

By Phillip Bartlett

Huge lift for Ards, despite losing Crane

Ards taste victory for the first time in 2023 in 5 goal epic.

Ards make the first of 2 long journeys to Darragh Park to take on Dergview in the space of 4 days, a result of weather enforced postponements earlier in the season. Not ideal for the squad or the travelling support but it provides an opportunity for a much needed boost for everyone involved. Ards are on a terrible run of late, yet to secure a win in 2023, their last victory coming back in early December when we beat Newington 2-1, that win only being secured with a last minute Alex Moore penalty save. Confidence and expectation is understandably low, but with Dergview sitting 11th and 8 points behind, we have to be positive going into a very crucial double header or risk being pulled into an even tougher relegation battle. Dergview have lifted a possible 11 points from 24 while Ards, in the same period have only amassed 2 points so the home side will also find reasons to be positive.

3 changes for Ards going into this game, a crucial fixture for manager Tipton who has been coming under pressure from various quarters of late. Striker Adam Salley restored to the starting 11, leading the line in attack while the impressive Ethan Taggart starts in the middle of the park having been on the bench last time out. Captain TJ Murray once again features for Ards in the middle of the defence, Ben Mullen finding himself on the bench alongside Ross Arthurs. DeeDee McAllister is missing from the squad for this one while Salou Jallow continues his recent run of appearances wide right.

Ards striker Adam Salley battling for the ball having been restored to the starting line-up

A very exciting game that had a bit of everything for the spectators but most importantly for the away side it resulted in 3 very valuable points to take back along the M1 to BT23. Alongside plenty of goals there was lots of attacking action, plenty of controversy, goal line clearances and a red card to boot. The usual defensive lapses were still evident, but Ards proved a lot more effective as an attacking threat today. Dergview had the best of the early stages of this one, Gallagher and Kennedy causing several problems for the Ards back line before the tireless Ethan Taggart opened the scoring for Ards, somewhat against the run of play. Unfortunately, I didn’t even have time to post details of the goal to social media before the home side went up the other end and equalised through Garth Falconer, the Ards lead lasting some 40 seconds. Ards didn’t let their heads drop and restored their lead just after the half hour mark, Adam Salley converting from the penalty spot to grab his first goal since his brace against Warrenpoint. 2-1 at the interval, Ards with the advantage. Ards were rejoicing further early in the second half as captain TJ Murray popped up at the back post to head in a 3rd for the away side. Dergview did hit back halfway through the second half, cutting the deficit to 1, but Ards dug in and earned a tough 3 points despite playing the last 15 mins with 10 men, Cricky Crane seeing red after some ugly scenes following a late Eamon Scannell challenge.

'ET' celebrates having grabbed the first goal of the game and giving Ards the lead

The action started early in this one, Ards claiming a penalty for handball within the first 15 seconds of the kick-off. It looked like there was a decision for the ref there but outside of the opposition actually catching the ball in the box that early on I don’t see a pen being awarded. Neither keeper had much to do in the early stages, but Dergview were looking much the more dangerous, Mikhail Kennedy and Ben Gallagher getting beyond the Ards back line far too easily. Fortunately, Ards were able to do enough to keep them out but it was a tense period of the game. Somewhat against the run of play Ards opened the scoring, the hard working Ethan Taggart finishing off a decisive Ards move. Jallow was enjoying his longest spell in the side for some time and combined really well with Adam Salley out wide right to create a crossing opportunity. The ball in was controlled well by Cafolla but his route to goal was blocked off so he laid it off perfectly for the approaching Taggart who converted quite brilliantly curling it in to the far corner of the goal, McGarvey no chance in the ‘View goal.

The travelling fans were still celebrating the opening goal as Dergview hit back, Garth Falconer cutting those celebrations short after just 40 odd seconds of Ards taking the lead. It was a huge disappointment but in the context of the season not much of a shock, Ards defensive limitations have been evident for some time now and this was more of the same. Falconer with the final touch at the back post but Ards had several chances to clear the danger before it got that far. 1-1 after 24’, back to square one. It would have been easy for Ards to drop their heads at this point, losing a goal so quickly after taking the lead, but the boys kept pressing, Jallow and Taggart working their socks off in the midfield and it was Jallow’s persistence that ultimately led to Ards’ second goal of the game, Adam Salley restoring their lead from the penalty spot on 32’. Jallow’s pace was giving the Dergview left back a torrid time and once again he got past him before delivering a great ball to E Scannell in the box. Scannell controlled and protected the ball well before getting clattered from behind, a clear foul giving the ref no choice but to point to the penalty spot. Salley stepped up and placed the ball into the top right corner of the goal, McGarvey with no chance of reaching that. Ards once again in front, 2-1.

Karl Hamill assured at the back, making some important interventions including one off the line

Ards made it to the interval with their lead intact, but Ben Gallagher will be wondering how he has not equalised or indeed given Dergview the lead before the break. Ards were temporarily down to 10 men on 38’ as Cricky Crane had left the field for treatment and Dergview seemed to have taken advantage through Gallagher. Ball was played through to the front man, who’d timed his run perfectly, with only the advancing Alex Moore to beat he lifted the ball over the keeper and was off celebrating what he thought was a certain goal. Unbelievably Ards’ Karl Hamill came out of nowhere to clear the ball off the line at the last second, excellent defensive play, never giving up. Hamill and Gallagher were having quite the tussle throughout and both were involved again just before the break. Hamill came out on top again preserving Ards lead at the break. 2-1 it was when the ref blew up for the interval.

No changes for Ards at the break…

Having managed to hold on to their lead at the break, things got even better for the away side early in the second half. TJ Murray, Ards captain and makeshift centre half, extended that lead further on 52’, popping up at the back post meeting Paddy Cafolla’s pinpoint freekick with a downward header, giving McGarvey no chance. 3-1 the score, Ards on course for their first league win in 9 games. Dergview had hit back quickly earlier in the piece and nearly got back into the game minutes later but through an unusual route, Paddy Cafolla going close to heading into his own net from a Dergview corner. The Ards #8 very thankful that Taggart was in the right place at the right time to head over the bar and spare his blushes.

Ards, to their credit, continued to press, Aidan Steele causing problems for the Dergview keeper from an in-swinging corner. McGarvey came through a crowd to meet the ball, spilling it in the process. Fortunately, his teammates were able to clear the ball before Ards could capitalise. The game was certainly opening up, end to end stuff with both sides creating chances, Ards Mr. Reliable Eamon Scannell was put through on goal, a fantastically weighted ball from Taggart. His touch took him away from the defender giving him a sight of goal, but his shot was wayward, well off target much to McGarvey’s relief. Ards never do things the easy way and allowed Dergview back into the game, Jamie Browne allowed time and space to pick his spot and pull one back from the home side. It came from a corner wide left; Ards made the initial clearance but it only went to the edge of the box where Browne picked it up and did the rest. Poor defending once again, lack of distance on the clearance unable to find a teammate. 3-2 the score, 25 minutes left on the clock.

Captain TJ Murray wheels away in celebration after extending Ards lead early in the second half

There were ugly scenes shortly after resulting in a red card for Cricky Crane and a yellow a-piece for Eamon Scannell and Dergviews’ Aidan McCauley. It kicked off after a late challenge by Scannell, who was rightly cautioned for the challenge, but what followed us unsavoury at best players coming from all over the pitch to get involved. There was pushing and shoving, not much more than that, before McCauley threw himself to the floor simulating a facial injury after clashing with Crane. Having been inches from the incident I can say there was no contact that would have left him holding is face in that manner, but it brought about red card for Crane. Unfortunate as the ref has been conned there but Crane was far enough away from the initial incident and had no need to get involved. However, the same could be said for the majority, both home and away players. The reaction of the Dergview player involved afterwards, smiling and winking towards the away fans, showing how proud he was to have got one over the officials and get a fellow player dismissed. Not a part of the game I enjoy but it’s becoming more and more part and parcel of modern football.

Ards 'Cricky' Crane giving his marching orders after ugly scenes late in the second half

Ards up against it for the remaining 15 minutes, leading 3-2 but Dergview with a man advantage. Following the nature of the red card there was determination from both those on the pitch and those in the stands that we not let them back into the game and what followed was a determined and focused performance from everyone in red and blue. Excellent showing from the 10 players left out there to keep Dergview out but also still retain an attacking threat to push for a 4th. Ards looked to sure things up after the red card, Young and Reynolds coming on, replacing Jallow and Steele. In truth, after the red, you’d have been hard pressed to know who had the advantage as Ards continued to create and actually had the best chance of the dying minutes to extend their lead. Daniel Reynolds did well to control Cafolla’s ball over the top and turn his man, but his shot was too high and put over the bar.

There were 4 mins of time added on to play and having dug in there were great scenes when the ref finally brought the game to and end. Ards running out with a 3-2 win. It was a hard-earned win, the players giving their all but none more so that Ethan Taggart who controlled the middle of the park and covered very blade of grass out there. He ran himself into the ground for the team and was easily the MOTM for Ards in this one. Some great performances elsewhere, Salou Jallow proving his worth wide right, while Paddy Cafolla was in there with excellent deliveries throughout the 90. The same issues at the back were evident again, getting caught out with simple balls over the top, or overloads out wide exposing the full backs which needs to be addressed. Plenty of positives today though, none more important than that ‘W’ and the 3 valuable points to stop the slide.

That result, coupled with other scorelines sees Ards jump to 7th in the table, stopping the rot. First leg of a league double header complete, focus now switches to the next leg, same place, same team on Tuesday with Ards looking for a similar result. Dergview will definitely have taken some positives from todays game and be looking payback when we return in 72 hours. With Crane missing following his red there will be some enforced changes but the confidence should be high knowing we can come out on top.

To be continued….

Starting Line-up:

Moore, Crane, TJ Murray, Hamill, Calderwood, Jallow, Taggart, Cafolla, Steele, E Scannell, Salley


Shields, Young, E Scannell, Mullen, Reynolds, Arthurs, McDonald

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