By Jana McCabe
Ards came in to the fourth game of the season with no points and only one place from the bottom of the table. Newly-promoted Newry City were tonight’s opposition, with the fellow County Down side winning one and losing two of their opening games, so this clash gave Ards the opportunity to leapfrog the visitors and rise to ninth in the table.
On a chilly Friday night, Ards made the better start with Eamon McAllister's strong strike from the right side of the box narrowly blocked in the third minute. Then in the tenth minute a David McAllister corner connected with Mark Kelly but his looping header was just over. Newry’s first goalscoring chance came in the seventeenth minute when John Boyle's free header was just off target.
Ards broke the deadlock in twenty sixth minute minute when Jonny Frazer showed great determination to stop a wayward cross going out for a goal kick, and his wonderful cross from near the left corner flag found the head of Mark Kelly whose downward header beat the keeper and nestled in the back of the net. 1-0!
Kelly had another opportunity just seconds later but his shot was deflected. In the thirty seventh minute Ards' second goal of the game arrived when a Kelly pass provided Frazer with a one on one with the Newry 'keeper, with the speedy forward making no mistake and slotting the ball into the net.
It didn’t take long for Ards' third goal to arrive when a foul on Frazer gave Ards a free kick in a dangerous position. Kym Nelson stepped up and his powerful strike found the top right corner. 3-0 in the forty third minute.
In first half injury time Newry's Stephen Teggart took a curling corner but the chance was cleared by Craig McClean, with the half ending 3-0.
A half time substitution saw David Elebert replaced by Michael Kerr. Early on, just like the first half, Eamon McAllister’s strong shot was pushed over by Newry stopper Steven Maguire. Then, in the fifty fifth minute, Newry were awarded a penalty. Stephen Hughes stood up and took it but Ards stopper Sam Johnston came to the rescue and pulled off a fine save to keep the game 3-0.
In the fifty eighth minute Michael Kerr’s free kick connected with Frazer but his strike was just over. Ards continued to press with Eamon McAllister showing great skill and tricking multiple Newry players but his weak shot was saved. In the seventy fifth minute Stefan Lavery's strong strike was well saved by home 'keeper Johnston. Kym Nelson was then replaced by Josh Kelly.
In the seventy seventh minute Ards got their fourth when David McAllister's cross from the touchline found Frazer whose half volley in to the top left-hand corner gave him his second of the night. Mark Kelly was then replaced by Michael McLellan as the game drew to a close.
A convincing 4-0 win for Ards, with Jonny Fraser deservedly picking up the Man Of The Match award, and Ards moving up to ninth place in the Premier League table. Ards face Newington in the BetMclean league cup second round on Tuesday evening when they will look to build on this great performance.
Ards: Sam Johnston; Callum Byers, David Elebert, Johnny Taylor, Craig McClean; Eamon McAllister, Kyle Cherry, Kym Nelson, David McAllister; Jonny Frazer and Mark Kelly
Subs: Michael Kerr (for David Elebert), Josh Kelly (for Kym Nelson) and Michael McLellan (for Mark Kelly).
Unused: Jason Mooney (GK), Jonah Mitchell, Marc McKenna and Adam McAleenan