Lough 41 Championship.
Ards vs Warrenpoint Town.
Saturday 21st January at 3.00 p.m.
Barry Gray brings his Warrenpoint side to Clandeboye Park for the first time this season as the two previous encounters between the sides were at Milltown. Ards lost the first game back in September by a 2-1 scoreline but got ample revenge at the end of November with a 4-1 victory which brought both teams level on points at that stage, although Warrenpoint had a game in hand. Since then fortunes have differed and Warrenpoint now sit in third spot in the table, two places and five points ahead of Ards, still with a game in hand. Since that 4-1 win at Milltown Ards have only picked up five points in five games, while their opponents this weekend have doubled that tally with ten from their five games, picking up three wins and one draw, their only defeat being a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Ballyclare Comrades.
Ards fans will hope the return of Eamon Scannell from his one game suspension will help provide some of the guile that was missing in the 1-0 defeat at Ballinamallard last week, a defeat that in all honesty could have been by a wider margin. The energy of Ross Hunter has also been missed as he works his way back to full fitness, hopefully both players can make big contributions this weekend.
It is getting to the stage, if it hasn't already, where Ards need a good run of results quickly or any chance of being involved in the promotion battle is lost, even now it would take an optimist to consider chances anything other than mathematical, but there's no better time to start that run than against one of the main contenders so no more motivation is needed.
Warrenpoint have scored 33 times in league games this season, but their leading goalscorer is defender Luke Walsh with just five. There are however five other players on four goals apiece which means there is potential all over the pitch, Ards will have to be at their best to pick up the points necessary to re-start their challenge.
Match Sponsors :- The Universal Bootleggers.
Ball Sponsors :- Top Spot Newsagents, Frances Street, Newtownards.
Match Officials :-
Referee :- Mark Milligan.
1st Assistant :- Shane Geary.
2nd Assistant :- Jason Millar.