Linfield 1 v 0 Ards
Updated: Oct 6, 2021
County Antrim Shield – Round 1
Report by Phillip Bartlett
Ards travelled to the National Stadium to take on the reigning Irish Premier League champions Linfield in a rescheduled first round tie in the County Antrim Shield with both teams making a significant number of changes to their starting line-ups. Having made his 350th appearance for the club on Saturday, fan favourite Craig ‘Wack’ McMillen took the captains armband for the game.
Linfield controlled the early stages of the half, retaining possession and testing the Ards defence which remained solid and well organised, restricting Linfield to few clear-cut chances. There was a worrying moment for the Ards fans early on when Carry lost his footing and a defensive header bounced narrowly wide of the post.
Ards, while being somewhat wasteful with their limited possession in the first half, still managed the first real chance on goal and if not for a smart save by Johns would have seen the Championship team take the lead. Calderwood stole possession outside the Linfield box, delivered a short pass to Arthurs who laid the ball off perfectly to Aaron Brown whose strike was saved well by Johns in the Linfield goal.
The only goal of the game came late in the first half when Donnelly’s shot took a deflection past a stranded Carry. The goal came just minutes after a superb last-ditch challenge by O’Hare took Marshalls shot just over the cross bar.
In time added on in the first half Ards were awarded a freekick just outside the box and dead centre, the kick was taken by Wack but was hit straight into the wall. Linfield cleared the second ball, and the referee brought the action to a halt for half time.