Larne 3 - Ards 1
By Jana McCabe
After a successful Saturday Ards faced high flying Championship side Larne in the quarter final of the County Antrim Shield. David Elebert was the only change in the squad from last game with Michael Kerr taking his place in the starting eleven.
Ards’s first chance occurred in the sixth minute when Gareth Tommons’ curling shot skimmed over the bar. However Larne from the start showed their threat with Martin Donnelly’s cross saw David McDaid’s volley trickle wide of the post in the twelfth minute. Donnelly again showed he was dangerous when his freekick from a goal scoring position was blocked by the Ards wall. However no Ards player was able to clear the threat and Donnelly regained possession with his follow up shot being just over.
Larne took the lead in the twenty eighth minute when Ben Tinley’s shot from the edge of the box found the top right corner to make it 1-0.
Donnelly’s cross into the box made Callum Byers produce a fine header to deny the Larne forwards another chance in the thirty fifth minute. However the Ards defence couldn’t stop Donnelly and McDaids breakaway. Donnelly cleverly passed to McDaid who was all alone and his volley beat Johnston and flew into the back of the net to make it 2-0 in the thirty seventh minute.
In the fortieth minute Michael Kerr’s cross couldn’t connect with Tommons as Ards looked to get one back before half time. Tommons had another opportunity in the dying seconds of the half but his right sided shot was saved and the half ended 2-0.
In the fiftieth minute Tommons close range shot was wide of the left post as Ards looked to get one back. However it was Larne who got another in the fifty fourth minute when Donnelly got a well deserved goal when his edge of box shot found the top corner.
Seconds later Craig McClean’s shot was wide of the right post. Ards did get one back in the sixty first minute when back from injury substitute Jonny Frazer’s skilful run saw him get himself in a great position but he unselfishly passed to Mark Kelly. However he couldn’t control the ball but Kym Nelson first touch shot flew into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
In the seventieth minute Ards could have scored their second with Jonah Mitchell’s well timed pass being millimetres away from Mark Kelly’s head. The away side did have one last opportunity before the final whistle with substitute Ryan Strain putting Craig McClean through on goal but his shot was wide of the right post and the game ended 3-1.
A disappointing game and performance for Ards which means that Larne make it through to the semi finals of the County Antrim Shield . However attentions turn to Saturdays clash with Glentoran at the Oval where Ards will look to better their league position.
Ards starting 11: Sam Johnston, Michael Kerr, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor, Craig McClean, Jonah Mitchell, Kym Nelson, Josh Kelly, Gareth Tommons, David McAllister and Mark Kelly.
Used Substitutes: Adam McAleenan(for Johnny Taylor), Jonny Frazer(for Gareth Tommons) and Ryan Strain(for David McAllister)
Unused substitutes: Michael McLellan and Kyle Cherry.