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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt

Institute 1 Ards 1 – Match Report















NIFL Championship – 28/01/23

By Phillip Bartlett


‘Northdown by Northwest’ adventure ends all square

Points shared after underwhelming affair at the Brandywell


Ards were back on their travels this week taking the 80 mile trip to NI’s Maiden city to face Institute at the Brandywell. Ards were on the wrong end of 2-0 defeat when we last visited the Ryan McBride stadium in October while the return fixture at Clandeboye Park in December saw us held to a 1-1 draw. Institute have been hard to beat at home this season, getting some head turning results thus far, so it will be a hard task for Ards to come away with anything today. 4 places separate the teams in the league but the gap is only 7 points so things can change quickly in what is a very competitive Championship season.



Ards new signing Conor Scannell getting his final instructions before making his Ards debut


No more transfer incomings announced prior to this fixture but I can confirm that both Daniel Reynolds and Johnny Taylor have joined Salou Jallow on the transfer list, Ards allowing them to speak to other clubs. Ards most recent signing Conor Scannell makes his debut on the Ards bench for this one as Manager Matthew Tipton makes 4 changes to the starting 11 from last week. Karl Hamill, Aidan Steele, Kyle Calderwood and Cricky Crane are all brought in for this one. Ben Mullen, Conal Young and Ross Hunter are on the bench while Johnny Taylor and Daniel Reynolds are not included in the match day squad. I’m happy to report Ross Hunter was given the medical all clear last week after coming off feeling unwell in the defeat to Warrenpoint. Ards ‘201-man’ Greg Hall reverts to more familiar position in the heart of the defence alongside Hamill, while Calderwood is preferred at right back today replacing Conal Young. Cricky Crane is back in at left full-back following his omission last week.


A very even game throughout as Ards and ‘Stute swapped goals in a two-minute spell towards the end of the first half, outside of that the game was very underwhelming for everyone in attendance. An tight affair for pretty much the entirety of the 90+ minutes, 1-1 the final score probably was a fair result on reflection. A very uneventful first 45 looked destined to end without breaking the deadlock before an inexplicable Alex Moore error gifted Institute the opening goal on 35’, Calvin McCallion the lucky beneficiary. That goal seemed to kick Ards into life, and they wasted no time hitting back, grabbing an equaliser just 2 mins later as Paddy Cafolla popped up with a simple header in the box after some good build up play wide on the right. Ards had certainly lifted it at this stage and had chances to take the lead just before the interval but failed to take advantage. There were hopes that the second half would build on the exciting finish of the first, but it failed to materialise. There was very little goal mouth action, neither keeper really tested outside of an early Ethan Taggart effort that brought about a smart save from Dylan Doherty. Not ideal but a very worthy point to take back home over the Glenshane.


After conceding 5 last time out it was evident that Ards were more focused on remaining solid at the back in the opening stages which detracted a bit from any attacking intent early on. Not sure what Institute’s reasoning was but neither keeper was tested in the opening 15 mins, the respective defences able to keep each other at arm’s length. Ards found themselves under a bit pressure on 18’ as Institute were awarded a trio of corners in quick succession, Jamie Dunne’s delivery proving dangerous. Alex Moore dealt with the first two reasonably comfortably, before his defenders eventually helped out by clearing the 3rd. With Institute seemingly getting on top Ards caught them out with a quick attacking move, Paddy Cafolla and Adam Salley finally linking up well, Salley finding himself through on goal facing Doherty. He was under pressure as Leppard tracked back but he still managed to get an attempt at goal, flicking the ball round the approaching Doherty. I’m not sure it was creeping in but there wasn’t enough power on the attempt and ‘Stute were able to get back and clear it. First real sign of the goal for Ards.



Paddy Cafolla watches as his header in the 37' brings Ards level


Ards were being patient in their build up play but lacked a bit of luck in the final 3rd. Scannell looked to benefit from a Rhys McDermott mistake, the Institute defender making a mess of his clearance from Taggarts cross. Scannell picked up the loose ball and went at goal but credit to McDermott he recovered well and got a challenge in before Scannell could get his shot away. The most bizarre moment of a pretty boring game up until now came on the 35th minute when Ards gifted the home side the opening goal. Alex Moore has arguably been Ards most important player this season, saving Ards on a number of occasions in previous matches, but he won’t have been happy with his part in this goal. An innocuous ball over the top by ‘Stute was headed on by Karl Hamill, looping it high towards the Ards by-line for an Institute corner. Moore, under no pressure went to claim the ball trying to prevent the corner but misjudged the flight of the ball, failed to get it under control and spilled it on landing. Calvin McCallion had gambled, following the ball in, and probably couldn’t believe his luck as it landed at his feet. Moore was already on the ground and tried valiantly to keep the ball out, but McCallion took his time and slotted it in into the far corner. 1-0 the score to home team out of nothing.


It would have been understandable for Ards heads to drop, going behind to such and avoidable goal but this team owe a lot to the Ards #1 and seemed to lift their game right from the restart. It took Ards just over 90 seconds to hit back and grab an equaliser, Paddy Cafolla in the right place at the right time to convert a header. Cafolla had been operating a little higher up the pitch in this game, good movement in and around the box and this time it worked brilliantly. Calderwood and Salley combined well wide right, Salley eventually with the pass to setup the goal, picking out Cafolla in space who’s header gave Doherty no chance. 1-1 the score, Ards hit back early and on the up with just shy of 10 mins left in the first half.


Having been behind for just over a minute Ards should really have taken the lead a couple of minutes later, Karl Hamill coming in at the back post but putting his header just over the bar. Scannell and Steele worked the ball well down the left, Scannell putting a deep cross into the box. Hamill was up early and met the ball well at the back post but couldn’t direct the header on target and it went agonisingly over the bar. 1 additional minute was played at the end of the first half before referee Gareth Stewart brought the half to an end, 1-1 the score at the break.


No changes for Ards at the break as Institute get the game going again.


When the teams came out for the second half there was hope they could pick up where the first half left off, the last 10 minutes finally seeing some football being played, but that was not the case. Outside of an Ethan Taggart effort in the opening minutes there was little to no threat to either sides keepers, another very even half with most of the football being contained to the middle of the park. Eamon Scannell was Ards most lively attacking threat in the second half and it was his speed and movement that created the early chance for Taggart. Scannell has nipped in and stole the ball high up the pitch, Salley made a run wide left taking players with him which provided space for Taggart to run into. Scannell played him in, he dropped the shoulder and struck a well hit curled shot towards the far corner. It was a great save from Doherty, full stretch to his right sending it out for an Ards corner.


Eamon Scannell was definitely Ards most likely candidate to create something in the second half, once again on 62’ he harried the ‘Stute defence stealing the ball high up. He carried the ball to the by-line and clipped in a ball across goal but was unable to pick out a team mate in the box and Institute were able to clear. He was at it again some 5 mins later, this time Crane floated a ball over the top finding Scannell in space, again he’s sent in a really dangerous ball but no-one in black and white had gambled, and it ran out the far side. Some great service from wide areas but unable to find a teammate in the middle.



Ards Karl Hamill goes close to giving Ards the lead late in the first half


Institute did manage to carve out a couple of chances in the second half, but Moore will be happy to have remained relatively untroubled following his error in the first half. I’d have expected ‘Stute to try and put him under a bit more pressure but it didn’t happen. Their best chance in the half to steal the win was on 80’, Calvin McCallion put through on goal looking to test Moore. Greg Hall, not ats spritely as he once was, still managed to cover the ground well and put in an excellent challenge in the box, had to get that one right sending it out for the corner. Ards cleared the resulting set piece to relieve the pressure.


There were 3 mins added on to the end of the 90 and Ards had one last half chance to take all 3 points as Adam Salley was put through on goal by debut maker Conor Scannell with just seconds remaining. It looked a brilliant opportunity to test Doherty but before he could take the shot Leppard done really well to make up the ground and muscle him off the ball. Excellent centre half work that ultimately secured the draw for his side.



Adam Salley leading the line for Ards at the Brandywell


The ref blew up after the 3 mins had been played, 1-1 the score. On the balance of play probably a fair result, Ards having the better of the chances in the second half but ‘Stute probably edging the first half.


Ards have a bit of time to work on things as their next game isn’t for a couple of weeks as Irish Cup ties are being played next weekend. H&W are next up and having won 6 of their last 7 games are certainly the form team in the Championship at present. Ards ran out 5-2 winners last time went to Blanchflower, something says this might be a bigger test for us this time round. The transfer window will be closed soon so we’ll know what we have to work with to the end of the season. With the league being so competitive it just takes a short run of results climb up the table as the Welders have recently shown.


Starting Line-up:

Moore, Crane, Hall, Hamill, Calderwood, Cafolla, Murray (C), Taggart, Salley, Steele, E Scannell


Subs:

Shields, Arthurs, Mullen, McDonald, C Scannell, Young, Hunter

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