After victory against Dundela last weekend and a convincing League Cup victory against Dollingstown, Ards made the long trip to play Institute. Since bringing in new manager Brian Donaghey, the home side’s form has improved with the hosts also winning their midweek League Cup tie against PSNI.
Fifteen minutes in Ards had their first chance of the game when Patrick Cafolla’s through ball looked destined to find Kym Nelson but keeper Connolly made a sliding tackle to deny the midfielder an attempt.
Shortly afterwards, Institute were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, but Brendan McLaughlin’s strike posed no threat to Neeson who easily saved the chance.
20 minutes in and Salou Jallow’s pass found Nelson in the box, however he struggled to control the ball giving the Institute defence time to reshape and be alert for the upcoming strike.
Then Jallow showed impressive pace down the wing to connect with Neeson’s clearance with his pass finding Glover at the edge of the box. The resulting strike was deflected but fell to Ross Arthurs whose shot from close range was also deflected, this time out for a corner.
The resulting corner was originally cleared but Cafolla was able to get possession back near the the edge of the box. After the looping ball deflected off keeper Connolly, Arthurs’ first touch found the roof of the net to make it 0-1, with the Ards striker picking up an injury in the process but, after treatment, he was able to continue.
Ards had the last chance before the break when they were awarded a corner, with the dangerous delivery hitting the crossbar.
The half ended 0-1 with Ards dominating possession. The away side were able to take advantage of mistakes in the Institute defence but lacked that finishing touch on occasions.
Ards pressed early in the second half with Jallow’s ball from the right wing putting Cafolla through on goal, with his effort deflected out and the resulting corner not proving much danger.
Sixty eight minutes in and the away side thought they’d doubled their lead when Jallow’s ball from the right hand side found McCurry in front of goal but his strike was ruled offside. A decision deemed as harsh by the travelling Ards fans and players alike.
Things got even more frustrating for Ards shortly after as Chris Crane received a red card on the advice of an assistant referee who had spotted contact with an Institute player.
The home side then had multiple chances to equalise with Jamie Dunne’s header denied by Neeson, before midfielder Glover’s strong header cleared a threat seconds later.
Institute continued to dominate and in the eighty eighth minute won a corner, but the resulting header from Liam Walsh was wide of the right hand post.
In the ninety forth minute the home side equalised when a looping corner was palmed away by Neeson but the clearance struck Jack Millar with the ball finding the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Then Young, who was pressing forward to attack, was tackled by Rhys McDermott with the deflected ball being goal bound but Connolly was able to clear the danger.
Things went from bad to worse for Ards in the ninety eighth minute when the home side grabbed the winner as a cross from the right hand side by Walsh found substitute Patrick McLaughlin with his flick on finding the top of the net.
A tough pill to swallow for Ards who, if they’d secured three points, would have been top of the league following Newry’s 1-0 loss to Ballyclare. The defeat means Ards slip to third on goal difference after Annagh picked up three points at Wilgar Park. The abundance of yellow cards also continues with Murray and McGovern picking up cards alongside Crane’s red.
Attentions now turn to Friday night’s game against Ballyclare who are currently fourth behind Ards on goal difference, with this game set to be a competitive one.