ARDS 1-0 DUNDELA.
Even the most optimistic Ards fan would not have expected too much from this game. Before kick off Dundela were sitting in third place with a game in hand, while Ards were third from bottom with just two wins from their first six games. As it turned out Matthew Tipton's men ran out worthy winners with a committed display and as a bonus they kept their first clean sheet since the opening day win against Harland and Wolff Welders.
It was heartening to see that most of the injured players had recovered, allowing Calderwood, Taggart, Cafolla and Salley to rejoin the starting line up. Dee Dee McAllister and Conall Young were the main absentees from the match day squad.
The game started at a fast pace and maintained that momentum for most of the 90 minutes. It must have been an excellent watch for any neutrals present, with some good end-to-end football, some crunching tackles and decent chances being created by both sides. It was Ards who threatened first, with a couple of dangerous corners putting the Duns defence under pressure. However it was Benny Igiehon who should have opened the scoring in the first few minutes with a close range header that was brilliantly saved by Moore in the home goal.
It was then Ards turn to attack and the hard working Scannell managed to make his way past a couple of opposition players before laying the ball on for Salley who came through on the left side of the box and confidently finished with a cleanly struck shot past Shields, no more than Ards deserved at this stage. Another chance fell to Ards when a strong run from Cafolla led to him taking a shot that was blocked by a defender when perhaps Hunter was better placed. Scannell then had a decent effort as Ards looked to extend their lead. There was a dangerous moment at the other end as Annett burst through but his lob was comfortably gathered by the impressive Moore. Hunter, who was lively all evening had another good effort for Ards just before half time.
The second half opened with Dundela determined to get back in the game. They exerted early pressure on the home defence who covered and challenged heroically to maintain the lead. In fact it was Ards who nearly increased their lead when a lovely link up between Hunter and Salley led to a goal saving last ditch tackle from a Duns defender when it seemed certain Ards would score. For all their pressure the nearest the away side came to an equaliser was when Moore again held a header from Igiehon. Ards fans would have been particularly aggrieved had he scored as many felt he should have received a second yellow card in the first half. There were moments of concern as Ards conceded free kicks around the penalty area but the usually dangerous Kane was unable to test Moore.
Ards commitment and team effort was rewarded when the referee blew the final whistle to signal a 1-0 win for the home side. It was probably Ards best 90 minutes of the season so far and while there were several contenders for man of the match, Johnny Taylor deserved it for his display at the heart of a resolute defence.
Next up for Ards is another home game on October 1st, this time against bottom of the table Dergview.
Team :- Moore, Calderwood, Hall, Taylor, Crane. Taggart, Cafolla, Murray, Scannell. Hunter, Salley.
Substitutes : McVeigh for Scannell, Arthurs for Salley.
Unused substitutes - Craughwell, Jallow, Mullen, Brown, Reynolds.