PLAYR-FIT Teamwear Championship.
Institute vs Ards.
Friday December 22nd at 7.45 p.m.
Ards face a long trek to play Institute in this fixture that has been brought forward from it's original Saturday scheduling. The evening kick off and a round trip of more than 160 miles means that only the hardiest of fans wearing Red and Blue will make the journey to see their team try and pick up their first win in five games and gain revenge for the 3-2 defeat at the hands of Institute when the teams met in Bangor in October.
Although they are in third position in the table with 33 points, Institute have lost their last two games and drawn the previous two so like Ards have to go back five games for their last win. Unlike Ards however they still harbour hopes of promotion, backed up by the joint best defence in the division, with only 23 goals conceded so far, while Ards who have played two games more have conceded 40. Ards do have the edge in attack, having notched 37 goals compared to just 29 by their hosts, the lowest total in the top half of the table.
Although they lost their last two games to Newington and Annagh, Institute were unbeaten in their previous five, including wins over Ballyclare and Portadown, two teams who have recently beaten Ards. The recent form for the Red and Blues has been poor, the good wins over Dundela and the Welders are distant memories with only one point gathered from the four games since, leaving the team in tenth position, ten points clear of Dergview in eleventh but Dergview have no less than three games in hand. Whatever the outcome of Friday's game, Ards fans will be hoping that Bangor do them a favour when they face Dergview on Saturday!
Institute don't have a prolific goal scorer, indeed two of their last five goals have been own goals and leading marksman Michael Harris has just five to his credit, but they do have the Championship Player of the Month for November in the shape of defender Shaun Leppard who has managed three goals alongside his defensive duties, they also have a happy knack of scoring late goals as Ards fans will remember from that defeat in October.
Whatever the result at the Brandywell, Ards fans will be hoping for a performance that bodes well for the big North Down derby coming up on Boxing Day, an opportunity to atone for the 1-0 defeat against Bangor at the start of the season.
Match Officials :-
Referee :- Neil Robinson.
1st Assistant :- Gareth O'Donnell.
2nd Assistant :- Robbie McMinn.