Knockbreda 2 v 3 Ards
NIFL Championship – 09/10/21
Ards rally from 1st half setbacks to record an impressive victory
Report by Phillip Bartlett
Last time out at Breda Park the Ards fans were treated to a ‘gr-eight’ performance, with Ards running away with an 8-0 win on Boxing Day 2019. With Breda having picked up wins against teams Ards have struggled against recently, there was little expectation of a similar result today, but hopes remained high for a win and three valuable points.
The Ards starting line-up was unchanged from the last league game against Ballinamallard, but there was some movement on the bench with Young, Arthurs and Murray coming back in.
Ards made their attacking intent clear right from the off with Jallow smashing a shot off the crossbar after only 5 minutes. Reynolds picked the winger out with a pinpoint ball, Jallow controlled well and got his shot away only to see it come back of the bar with the keeper beat. McCurry tested Deane in the Knockbreda goal a few minutes later while Jallow continued to have success down the right, but Ards were unable to capitalise.
The half changed following a crazy three-minute spell during which McGovern was shown a red card (33’) after picking up a second booking, the ref awarded a penalty which was scored by Gilmour and two mins later Ards found themselves 2-0 down as Rea took full advantage with a close-range header as Ards were trying to reorganise at the back.
Ards did compose themselves again having brought Ferrin on for Dinu and switching to three at the back shortly after which the referee brought the first half to a close.
Ards came out in the second half full of purpose and for the whole 45+3 minutes you would not have known we were playing with 10 men. The Knockbreda goal led a charmed life with several last-ditch saves by Deane and goal line clearances and it probably seemed to the travelling fans that it was going to be one of ‘those days’.
McCurry gave Ards hope with his headed finish on 63’ and 15 mins later
Jallow popped up at the back post, unmarked and headed in a much-deserved equaliser from a superb cross by McCurry. Ards were creating chance after chance, with McCurry hitting the post, Ferrin hitting the cross bar and Deane making some important stops to further frustrate.
In the 90th minute of the game, heading in to three minutes of time added on, the Ards fans were celebrating again as McCurry scored his second of the match, and Ards third, to take a well-deserved lead. It was a somewhat fortuitous goal with McGrandles’ shot being deflected into McCurry’s path by the Breda defender, but the on-loan striker made no mistake with a first-time finish into the top corner of the net.
It was nothing more than John Bailies’ team deserved today, a tireless second half from the whole side showing no signs that they had played over 60 minutes a man down. Other results today see Ards sitting two points clear at the top of the league table. Still very early days but once again this team has shown their resilience in tight situations. That game will be hard to top this season, a great watch and a great crowd at the game, which is always good to see.
Neeson, Dinu, McGovern, McGrandles, O’Hare, Scannell, Cafolla, O’Kane, Jallow, Reynolds, McCurry
Ferrin (Dinu), TJ Murray (O’Kane), Arthurs (Reynolds), Glover (Jallow)
Subs not used:
Carry, Young, Calderwood
Murray, O’Hare, O’Kane