Loughgall vs Ards.
Saturday 8th April at 3.00 p.m.
In the first of the post-split fixtures Ards take on what is probably their toughest task when they travel to play top of the table Loughgall. The hosts sit a full six points clear of Warrenpoint at the top of the table and with a goal difference of plus 45 they know that barring a series of freak results three wins in their last five games will clinch promotion to the Premiership.
Ards on the other hand experienced their own series of unexpected, if not freak, results last weekend which snatched a top six place when only the most optimistic fans were expecting it. Their 5-1 demolition of Dundela at Wilgar Park extended their unbeaten run to four games and leaves them in fifth place, ahead of Ballyclare on goals scored, both teams having a goal difference of plus 2.
Goals scored is an area where Ards can compete with Loughgall, having scored 64 the Red and Blues are only one behind the Villagers who have 65 in spite of losing leading goalscorer Nedas Macuilaitis to Carrick Rangers in January. It is in goals conceded that the difference lies, Loughgall have only conceded 20 in their 33 games played so far, while Ards have more than trebled that with 62 conceded in their 33 games. Loughgall have scored 14 of those 62 goals and have a 14-1 aggregate in their favour in the three fixtures between the clubs so far this season, including a 5-0 win over the Red and Blues in the first visit to Lakeview Park in August.
Realistically Ards have only pride to play for as they are 16 points behind second placed Warrenpoint who occupy the promotion play-off position, hopefully that pride will help them maintain their recent improvement in performances and results and maybe help them catch 4th placed Dundela, who have 54 points and the free-falling Annagh in third, who have lost their last six games and are just one point ahead of the Duns.
Team selection will be along the usual lines, although Danial Reynolds has decided to emigrate to Australia so will not be considered, Greg Hall will be hoping for a recall if he has recovered sufficiently from the injury that has kept him out of the last few games.
Ards have reminded fans what might have been with their recent displays, 13 scored and just four conceded in those last four unbeaten games, travelling fans will be hoping that form can continue in the run in to the season's end.
Match Officials :-
Referee :- Shane McGonigle.
1st Assistant :- Ethan Craig.
2nd Assistant :- Octavian George Neacsu.