Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 27 January, 2018
By Adrian Monaghan
Ards suffered defeat at Stangmore Park yesterday in a game that was mostly dominated by the home side.
Paul McElroy scored the only goal of the contest in the second half when he stroked the ball home following a corner kick.
Ards lined up without dependable left-back Michael Ruddy who missed his first game for the club since returning from injury back in mid-October. His absence from the team would be a telling factor.
Ruddy’s replacement, debutant Reece Neale, had a great game, but it was Ruddy’s ability to dispatch a penalty kick that was missing.
While trailing 1-0 and struggling to get into the game, Ards were awarded a penalty when Frazer was fouled just inside the area. In Ruddy’s absence, Guillaume Keke quickly, and confidently seized the ball, but his subsequent kick was poor and Addis saved it with little effort required.
Justice was done though as the Swifts were the superior side and fully deserved the three points. If it weren’t for the resistance shown by the Ards defence and keeper Johnston, the winning margin would have been greater.
The home team bossed the middle of the park, a department where Ards could not get to grips. Ards laboured while the Swifts were more fluent, moving the ball quickly and with accuracy.
The visitors did have the first attempt on goal early on. David McAllister burst clear and drew a great save from Addis. Cameron Stewart following up, and with the goal at his mercy, hit the ball well wide of the target.
A few minutes later Mark Patton burst into the box and forced a good save from Johnston. And moments later Johnny Lafferty met a Patton cross from the left, but his parting header grazed the side netting.
Ards were fortunate to get to the break still on level terms. Dungannon were running all over the top of them, but David Elebert and his trusty defence kept them at bay.
Close to half time the Ards rear guard were breached but the woodwork came to Johnston’s assistance, the grateful keeper collecting Lafferty’s headed effort into his arms after it had rebounded off the post.
The home side took the lead 6 minutes into the new half through McElroy. Burke’s corner kick caused panic in the box and McElroy finished despite Neale’s valiant effort to keep the ball out.
McElroy almost doubled his tally a few minutes later when he latched onto a through ball. Johnston though read the danger and moved quickly to thwart his effort.
Ards were thrown a lifeline with the penalty award, but it wasn’t to be. Ex Ards player David Armstrong flattened Frazer with referee Kennedy having no hesitation in awarding the spot kick.
Keke was visibly annoyed and tried his best to make amends. Five minutes after the penalty miss he stung Addis’ palms with a rasping drive, McLellan was pushed to the floor as he attempted to follow up, but the referee wasn’t in the mood for doling out any more penalties.
That was the last of the action and Dungannon held on for the win.
Ards - S.Johnston, R.Glendinning, R.Neale, D.Elebert, C.Byers, G.Tommons, J.Frazer, L.Kelly, M.McLellan, C.Stewart, D.McAllister. Subs used - J.Kelly (for L.Kelly 52’), G.Keke (for C.Stewart 55’), A.McAleenan (for D.Elebert 58’). Unused subs – S.Davidson, K.Cherry.
Referee – Keith Kennedy