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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt


NIFL Championship – 13/11/21

Wasteful Ards once again rue missed chances as winless run continues

By Phillip Bartlett

A day to forget for the ‘Red and Blue’ fans that made the short trip to East Belfast as Ards come unstuck against former boss Niall Curries’ Dundela. Second from top, playing second from bottom, the teams went into the match with similar recent records with 4 defeats and a draw in all competitions. It was very much a case of déjà vu with Ards failing to capitalise on impressive starts, ending the game in defeat in similar fashion as recent games away to Loughgall and at home to Annagh United.

Eamon Scannell was in from the start and Ards also welcomed back skipper Jamie McGovern,

available after recent suspension. Conal Young missed out through injury, and loan signing Calvin McCurry was away on international duty with the NI u21s.

In a game where Ards dominated the possession throughout, two second half goals for Dundela condemned them to a further defeat. Ards were clearly up for the game looking to end their poor run of form with some tasty early challenges by Nelson and Scannell, letting Dundela know from the off that they were in for a game. Unfortunately, effort and endeavour will only ever get you so far and once again Ards were missing that bit of quality in the final 3rd .

At the break Ards could and (tired of typing this) probably should have been one or two goals to the good with chances created but were unable to convert. A combination of good goal keeping, poor decision making and wastefulness in front of goal kept it goalless at half time. Reynolds had the first chance of the game receiving the ball from Jallow, who done well winning the ball off the much larger Owens just inside the box. Reynolds’ shot from the edge of the 18 seemed to strike a Duns defender on the arm, prompting calls for a penalty by the travelling support but the ref waved it away. The second ball fell to Jallow, but his tame effort was easily gathered by Matthews in the Dundela goal.

Ards kept pressing and creating chances and on 13’ it took an excellent stop by the home keeper to deny Nelson the opening goal. Kym won the ball just inside the Duns half and drove at the back line and cutting in on his favoured left foot, hitting a great strike that was goal bound, unfortunately the keeper was equal to it and put it round the post for an Ards corner. There were further half chances for Nelson and TJ as the half followed a similar pattern, but neither could convert. 0-0 at the break.

Dundela were more dangerous in the second half giving the visitors an early warning when ex Ards striker Guillaume Keke’s clever back heel at the near post nearly caught Ards out but Bam was able to gather. The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Ards dominating possession, creating chances, but again not taking them. Ards were eventually punished for their wastefulness by an excellent Tony Kane freekick, which left Bam motionless in the Ards goal, and put Ards 1-0 down on 52’. It stayed 1-0 to the home side until substitute Michael Smith scored late on in injury time 90+4 to condemn Ards to a second consecutive 2-0 defeat. It could have been worse for Ards as Bam was called into action on several occasions including a save at full stretch that tipped the ball onto the bar.

Another very disappointing day for the Ards fans whose frustrations were evident in the stands after high hopes early on that we could get the league promotion campaign back on track. Plenty of effort and endeavour from everyone out on the pitch but something just isn’t working at present. Early in the season Ards had been able to find ways to win in the most unlikely of circumstances, we seem to be well short of those standards at present. The scale of the issues perhaps evident with James Ferrin having a short cameo as a makeshift striker towards the end.

Hopefully the coaching staff can put it right in training as we turn our focus to Dergview at

Clandeboye Park this Friday evening in a re-arranged game. Dergview have been on a decent run with 3 wins and a draw in their last 5 fixtures, so it won’t be an easy game. Having drew 1-1 in the return fixture back in September the supporters will be all too aware of the dangers they pose.

Starting eleven:

Neeson, Crane, McGrandles, McGovern, O’Hare, Jallow, Cafolla, Murray, Nelson, Scannell,


Subs used:

E McAllister, DD McAllister, Ferrin, Glover

Subs not used:

Carry, O’Kane, Calderwood

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