Match Report: Ards 1 - Ballymena 2
Saturday 18th August 2018
Danske Bank Premiership
By Jana McCabe
After two tough opening games, Ards faced Ballymena at the Bangor Fuels Arena where they looked to pick up their first points of the 2018/19 season. Sean Noble’s injury last weekend meant he wasn’t in the starting line up and won’t be for the foreseeable future. Josh Kelly returned to the squad after his one game suspension, whilst familiar faces Reece Glendinning and Matthew Shevlin returned to Clandeboye again.
In the third minute Ards applied some early pressure with David McAllister looking dangerous and forcing a corner. Kyle Cherry took the corner but the chance was cleared.
In the thirteenth minute Ards had another promising chance when Mark Kelly’s close range shot was saved at the left post. In the twenty second minute Callum Byers made a crucial clearance to deny Ryan Mayse’s looping shot.
In the twenty fifth minute Ards captain Gareth Tommons’ header was wide as he tried to add to his goal tally after his two goals during the opening game of the season at Seaview.
In the twenty seventh minute Ards scored the opening goal with David McAllister’s pass to Josh Kelly hitting off Jonny Frazer. Josh Kelly’s shot then deflected off Mark Kelly and passed the Sky Blue stopper Glendinning to make it 1-0.
Andrew Burns was then booked and the half ended 1-0 with Ards looking very promising.
However Ards made a bad start to the second half when they failed to clear the ball and James Knowles shot from the edge of the box dipped over Sam Johnston’s head to level the game in the fifty fifth minute.
Ards, especially Johnston, did well to keep the game 1-1 with The Sky Blues having multiple chances including Adam Leckey’s strong shot and William Faulkner’s goalbound effort, but both were well saved by Johnston.
In the sixty fourth minute Josh Kelly tried his luck from outside the box but his shot was off target as Ards tried to get the crucial second goal.
Ballymena replaced Leckey and Faulkner with Fra Nolan and Shane McGinty, while Ards replaced Mark Kelly with Michael McLellan.
In the seventy second minute Ards had a good chance when Kelly’s pass found McAllister whose shot was just over. Then, in the seventy fifth, minute Knowles’ free kick from a dangerous position was well saved by Johnston.
In the 80th minute McAllister showed great skill when he beat three defenders to give McLellan a goal scoring opportunity. However he passed to Frazer who was pushed in the penalty box as the Red and Blue Army appealed for a penalty but nothing was given and the game remained 1-1.
The deadlock was broken when a long ball from Addis found Shane McGinty at the edge of the box and his first time effort flew into the right top corner. 1-2 in the seventy sixty minute.
Josh Kelly was then substituted for Eamon McAllister. Addis was then booked with the Sky Blues bringing on Tony Kane for Knowles. The substitutions continued with Michael Kerr being taken off and replaced by Jonah Mitchell, before Callum Byers was booked late on. Johnny Taylor was awarded man of the match for the home side and the game ended 1-2.
Not the result Ards would have wanted but the home side looked strong for long periods of the game. Ards face Newry at Bangor Fuels Arena on Friday night when they’ll look to pick up their first points of the season.
Ards: Sam Johnson; Michael Kerr, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor, Craig McClean; Jonny Frazer, Josh Kelly, Gareth Tommons, Kyle Cherry, David McAllister and Mark Kelly
Subs: Michael McLellan(for Mark Kelly), Jonah Mitchell (for Michael Kerr)
and Eamon McAllister(for Josh Kelly).
Unused:Jason Mooney, Kym Nelson, Marc McKenna and Adam McAleenan.
Johnny Taylor was selected as Ards man of the match by match sponsors Esquire Gentlemans Barbers, Church Street. Newtownards.
He was presented with his prize by Stuart Dellow on behalf of the match sponsors.