Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday, 24 February, 2018
By Adrian Monaghan
Linfield had a perfunctory win at Bangor Fuels Arena yesterday in a game where Ards worked hard but ultimately were no match for the superior visitors.
The first piece of action arrived on thirteen minutes when Waterworth fired off a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but Sam Johnston dealt with his effort without much bother.
Injury-prone David Elebert had to retire from the action after sixteen minutes. The inspirational centre-back was replaced by Adam McAleenan who went to right-back to allow Callum Byers to move into the centre.
Ards had a chance at the other end shortly after – David McAllister put in a good cross that had the Linfield defence in a bit of a panic until Niall Quinn hoofed the ball off the goal line.
Linfield’s French striker Achille Campion put the visitors in front on twenty-nine minutes. Quinn advanced down the left and smashed a shot towards goal, the effort was booted off the line, but Campion seized onto the clearance to fire home from around 12 yards.
Five minutes later Kurtis Byrne blasted a volley past the post then Michael Ruddy and Guillaume Keke had long-range efforts that Linfield keeper Gareth Deane had little difficulty in dealing with.
Ards’ game plan to keep things tight at the start of the second half was shot to pieces when Johnny Taylor senselessly barged into the back of Andrew Waterworth inside the penalty area on fifty minutes.
Referee Ian McNabb immediately pointed to the penalty spot and Waterworth coolly stoked the ball past Johnston to double the Blues lead.
Linfield went 3-0 up two minutes later. Stephen Lowry advanced on goal and from twenty-yards slammed in a shot that went in off an upright with Johnston well beated. The visitors were rampant at this stage and could have added a fourth when Byrne shot from distance but thankfully for the home side it drifted wide of the post.
Linfield were stroking the ball around with ease and seemed content with their three-goal advantage. To their credit, Ards never stopped trying and kept Linfield honest to the finish.
The Red and Blues had a couple of half-chances late on. The best of these fell to Ards’ French striker Keke, but he held onto the ball too long and let the Linfield defence clear the danger.
Linfield almost added another in stoppage time when Waterworth got on the end of a Quinn pass, but the former Ards player couldn’t find the net.
Referee McNabb brought the game to a halt shortly after. The match official gave a good performance letting both teams get on with it and he only saw fit to book one player – Linfield’s Andy Waterworth. This was the first game in a very long time that no Ards player was cautioned.
S.Johnston, C.Byers, M.Ruddy, D.Elebert, J.Taylor, J.Kelly, L.Kelly, K.Cherry, G.Keke, J.Mitchell, D.McAllister. Subs used: A.McAleenan (for Elebert 16’), J.Frazer (for McAllister 65’) G.Tommons (for Cherry 72’). Subs unused: S.Davidson, M.McLellan
Referee – Ian McNabb
Match Sponsor – Worthingtons Solicitors
Match Sponsors Worthingtons Solicitors
picked Callum Byers as yesterday's Ards Man Of The Match.
Callum was presented on behalf of the sponsor by Ivor Edgar.