By Jana McCabe
Despite a positive start to the season for Ards, this clash at Stangmore Park could prove vital come the end of the season. Jonny Frazer joined Sean Noble on the injury list, as Dungannon faced their first home game without Rodney McAree.
Dungannon’s Paul McElroy did well early on to trick the Ards defence but his resulting shot was over the bar in the third minute. Johnny Taylor denied Dungannon twice minutes later with two headers to clear the danger.
In the fourteenth minute Seanan Clucas’s shot from outside the box was well saved by Sam Johnston. However the ball ran free but after a scramble, Johnston was able to regain control.
Ards debutant Ryan Strain’s pass to Kym Nelson gave the midfielder a goal scoring opportunity but he was dispossessed by Clucas. Mark Patton’s free kick was saved in the twenty fourth minute as Dungannon continued to dominate.
Ards had their first shot on target in the thirty fifth minute when Eamon McAllister’s strong strike from outside the box was well saved by Dungannon keeper Alex Moore.
Dungannon’s dominance continued for the rest of the half with a Clucas shot from distance being saved by Johnston. Ards’s wall did well to deny Dungannon a chance from a free kick in the forty first minute. Michael Kerr was booked in the closing stages of the half.
Kym Nelson’s header was just wide of the left post in the opening minutes of the second half. In the sixty eighth minute Daniel Hughes’s shot tested Johnston. As he sought to deny a follow up he brought down Dungannon captain Ryan Harpur. The referee awarded a penalty which Harpur stood up to take. However Johnston came to the rescue and made the save.
After this Harpur looked to make up for the penalty miss but his shot from outside the box was well saved by Johnston in the seventy fifth minute.
Rhyss Campbell’s shot from the edge of the box then crashed off the bar in the eighty fifth minute. Campbell’s chances didn’t stop there, as in the ninetieth minute, his shot made Johnston produce a fine save.
Dungannon kept pushing until the last kick of the game with Harpur’s shot being stopped by Johnston.
Ards are now unbeaten in six with a third consecutive goalless draw in the league and Sam Johnston’s clean sheet expands to five games. Even though Ards came away with a point, they will look to produce a more convincing performance at Tuesday’s clash against high-flying Glenavon.
Starting 11: Sam Johnston, Michael Kerr, Eamon McAllister, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor, Kyle Cherry, Josh Kelly, Craig McClean, Kym Nelson, Mark Kelly and Ryan Strain.
Used substitutes: Jonah Mitchell, Adam McAleenan and Aaron Boyd
Unused substitutes: Michael McLellan, David McAllister, Gareth Tommons and Jason Mooney.