Danske Bank Premiership
Tuesday, 27 February, 2018
By Adrian Monaghan
Ards defeated Ballymena United at an ice-cold Bangor Fuels Arena last night with Reece Glendinning netting the only goal of the contest on thirty-three minutes.
The home side began brightly and really should have opened the scoring after seven minutes. Ross Clarke sent Cameron Stewart away down the left, the striker cut into the penalty area and laid the ball back to Kyle Cherry, but the midfielder blazed his shot over the crossbar from close range.
Ballymena’s Cathair Friel produced a piece of magic shortly after when his delightful chip from the edge of the box had Johnston stranded, however, the woodwork came to the rescue and a grateful Ards keeper collected the rebound.
Ards took the lead in the 33rd minute through man of the match Glendinning. Michael Ruddy forced Ross Glendinning into a smart save and from the resulting corner Reece nodded in unchallenged at the edge of the six-yard box.
Ross Clarke, impressive out wide, nearly doubled the home lead two minutes later. He cut in from the left and smashed the ball goal ward with his stronger right foot, Glendinning tipped it over, but the referee bizarrely awarded a goal kick.
Ruddy was in the right place to clear Kyle Owens header off the line as the visitors pushed for an equaliser.
Guillaume Keke went close to adding an Ards second on fifty minutes, but Ervin blocked well, sacrificing a corner kick in the process. Reece Glendinning nearly produced a carbon copy of his goal from the resulting corner. This time brother Ross producing a stunning save to keep the ball out.
The visitors almost equalised in crazy circumstances on seventy minutes. An Ards clearance bounced of Willie Faulkner’s head, hit the woodwork and looked destined for the back of the net, but once more Ruddy was on hand to clear.
In the final fifteen minutes Cameron Steward had two great chances to calm the home nerves. His first was a headed effort from close range which sailed harmlessly wide of the target. His second opportunity arose after he robbed Owens and headed for goals, Glendinning though saved his parting shot with his feet.
Near the finish Cherry shot tamely at the keeper when he had the whole of the net to aim at. It didn’t matter though as the Red and Blues recorded another precious three points.
It was a good display from Ards who had a lot of top performers on the night, notably Ruddy, Glendinning, Stewart, Byers and the on-loan Clarke who showed great pace and enthusiasm throughout.
S.Johnston, R.Glendinning, M.Ruddy, C.Byers, J.Taylor, G.Tommons, J.Frazer, K.Cherry, G.Keke, C.Stewart, R.Clarke.
Subs: J.Mitchell for Frazer.
Unused: N.Hanley, L.Kelly, M.McLellan , S.Davidson.
Referee: Ross Dunlop
Sponsor's Man of the Match: Reece Glendinning , presented by the match sponsors Premier Ards
Supporters Club's Andrew McCullough.