Match Preview - Annagh United vs Ards
Updated: Aug 5
Lough 41 Championship.
Annagh United vs Ards F.C
Tandragee Road Portadown.
Saturday 7th August @ 3.00 p.m
Annagh and manager Ciaran McGurgan have already had a taste of competitive action this season having hosted Knockbreda in the first round of the Bet McLean League Cup on Tuesday 3rd August. That match finished with a resounding 4-1 win for the home side, so they will be hoping to carry that form into Saturday's clash.
Annagh gained promotion at the end of the 2019/20 season but because of the Covid pandemic and the cancellation of last season's league competition they have had a long wait to take their place in the Championship. Annagh are quietly ambitious and they may surprise a few teams this season as they have an experienced squad featuring the likes of club captain Niall Henderson, much travelled striker Stephen Murray, Glenavon loanee Robbie Norton, Peter Duffin and Ryan Harpur, all of whom have experience at a higher level. Duffin and Murray scored three of the goals against Knockbreda in that 4-1 victory.
Ards will want to preserve their good record against Annagh, having won their last five games against them in League and Cup competitions, however the last of those victories came in 2016 so it isn't really any indicator of form. Ards do have one player in their ranks who will have fond memories of his last trip to Annagh for the Red and Blues, the popular Ross Arthurs who returned to the club in the close season after a spell with Harland and Wolff Welders, was on target with the opening goal in a 2-0 League Cup win back in October 2015.
Ards fans will be keen to see John Bailie's selection for the first competitive game. The majority of the squad are available with the exception of Danny Magill, T.J.Murray and Dee Dee McAllister who is not yet back to full training after his operation. The pre-season games have allowed the manager to have a good look at his panel and some of the new signings have shown up well and will be pushing for a place in the starting eleven.
Even if a player doesn't start a game, his chances of making an impact have increased as there is an interesting rule change this season. Clubs are now allowed to name up to seven substitutes, although a maximum of five may be used and changes may only be made on a maximum of three occasions during the game. I wonder which club will be the first to get their sums wrong?
The PASC will be running a bus to the game but to comply with current restrictions numbers allowed on the bus are limited. If you want to go and haven't yet reserved your seat please contact Andrew McCullough on 07752387438.