Loughgall 1 v 0 Ards
NIFL Championship – 23/10/21
Ards left feeling the ‘Lakeside Blues’ after defeat to Loughgall
Report by Phillip Bartlett
With Loughgall failing to win in their last 5 games, and Ards going into the game on the back of a four league-game winning streak, you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be another routine 3 points for John Bailies’ side. But as we have seen in previous rounds, the championship is far from predictable. Ards made one change to last weeks starting 11 with McGovern back in the heart of defence following his return from suspension, with Conal Young dropping to the bench. ‘Cricky’ Crane was also available after suspension and was named on the bench.
An Andrew Hoey goal on 60’ was enough for Loughgall to take all 3 points in a game that won’t live long in the memory of many of the travelling Ards fans. It was a disappointing performance from a side that over recent weeks have found ways to win but had no answers today.
Ards only managed one effort on target in the first half when Scannell took aim from distance, but it didn’t trouble Turker in the Loughgall goal. The two centre halves for the home side were really comfortable, winning the first ball each time it was lifted anywhere into the box. Loughgall had the better chances on goal and if not for Bam making a couple of top saves, including a brilliant save at full stretch to stop a certain goal in the top corner, Ards would have found themselves behind at the break.
The second half started much the same as the first ended with Bam being called into action in the first minute to turn a Loughgall effort onto the bar and eventually see it out for a corner.
TJ Murray also picked up a yellow card in a busy first minute as the weather deteriorated and the wind and rain made it difficult for both sides. There was a strong call for an Ards penalty on 49’ when it seemed clear to all bar the officiating team that Scannell was pushed in the back as he tried to collect the ball, the ref waved it away and the game continued.
15 mins into the 2nd half Loughgall were ahead when Andrew Hoey benefited from a poor attempted clearance. Hoey picked up the ball, neatly turned his man and sent his shot past the Ards goalkeeper into the bottom corner. A soft goal to concede, with Ards missing chances to clear the danger earlier, but based on the chances created, it’s hard to argue that it was not deserved. It was nearly 2-0 to the home side moments later when Loughgall saw a Pablo Andrade strike come back off the post, much to the travelling supporter's relief.
Shortly after the goal, Ards made a triple sub as they tried to take the game to Loughgall. Reynolds tested the Loughgall keeper with an effort from distance but much like Scannell’s in the first half it was a comfortable save. McCurry did well late on to make some room for himself in the Loughgall box, but his shot went wide of the far post. Ards’ task was made that much harder on 82’ when McGovern, who had just returned from suspension, was shown a straight red after the referee adjudged him to have thrown an elbow at an opponent.
The match finished 1-0 to Loughgall after 4 additional minutes with Ards having a very frustrating day. A disappointing way for the winning run to come to an end with Ards offering very little as an attacking threat. Focus now turns to the league cup as we welcome current Premier League leaders Cliftonville to Clandeboye Park in the 3rd round before a huge league game next Friday against fellow
title chasers Newry, again at Clandeboye Park.
Neeson, Dinu, McGrandles, McGovern, O’Hare, Jallow, TJ Murray, Cafolla, Scannell, Arthurs,
Nelson, Reynolds, Young, E McAllister, Crane
Subs not used: