By Jana McCabe
After a strong performance on Friday night during an impressive victory against Newry City, Ards looked to build on this in their BetMclean cup clash against NIFL Premier Intermediate League side, Newington FC.
Newington had the opening chance of the game with Conal Burns’ shot from inside the box saved by Ards keeper Jason Mooney in the first minute. Then a needless handball inside the box from Newington defender Chris McFall resulted in a penalty for the home side. Michael McLellan stood up, stalled to trick the keeper and calmly slid it into the bottom left corner. 1-0 in the second minute.
Ards continued to press and seconds later a long ball from Jonah Mitchell just failed to connect with the feet of a sliding McLellan. In the twenty second minute Ards second of the game arrived when Jonny Frazer's pass from the left wing fell to Mitchell whose first touch flew past the Newington stopper. 2-0 in the twenty second minute.
The goals didn’t stop there, as less than sixty seconds later McLellan's pass to Jonah Mitchell saw him lob the ball over the keeper to give him his second of the night. 3-0 in the twenty third minute. Kyle Cherry nearly made it four when his right hand side shot was just wide in the twenty sixth minute. Kym Nelson then showed great skill when he robbed Robert McVarnock in a dangerous position but Frazer's resulting shot was just over. Newington then had a goal scoring opportunity when John Donnelly header was well saved. However Newington did get one back in the last minute of the first half when Johnny Gowdy's shot beat Mooney, with the half ending 3-1.
Kyle Cherry was replaced by Gareth Tommons at half time. Newington pressed for a second with Gowdy’s left hand side shot just being saved in the fifty fifth minute. Frazer was then substituted after an injury, and replaced by David McAllister. Newington then showed they were still in the game in the sixty second minute when McVarnock’s shot from the right flew into the back of the net.
In the sixty fourth minute Jonah Mitchell’s curling shot was just over the bar. Ards continued to try and get a fourth with David McAllister's shot striking the right post in the sixty sixth minute. Then Ards' final substitution saw penalty-scorer McLellan replaced by Mark Kelly. Callum Byers then made a crucial clearance in the seventieth minute after a Newington goal-bound free kick. In the eighty seventh minute the Newington keeper nearly got caught out when he let go of the ball in a dangerous position but Mark Kelly was dispossessed. The red and blue army then breathed a huge sigh of relief after a well-timed pass from Newington's Kevin Bradley to Burn’s gave him gain a clear shooting opportunity but he couldn’t control his shot.
The game ended 3-1 with Ards progressing to the next round of the BetMclean cup. Attentions return to the Premiership as Ards face Linfield on Saturday at the national stadium.
Ards: Jason Mooney, Michael Kerr, Johnny Taylor, Callum Byers, Kym Nelson, Jonah Mitchell, Josh Kelly, Kyle Cherry, Eamon McAllister, Jonny Frazer and Michael McLellan
Substitutions: Gareth Tommons (for Kyle Cherry), David McAllister(for Jonny Frazer) and Mark Kelly(for Michael McLellan)
Unused: Sam Johnston, Adam Brown, Adam McAleenan and Marc McKenna.