By Jana McCabe
A huge relegation clash saw eleventh face twelfth at the Newry Showgrounds. A tough November has seen Ards pick up only one point, with this game arguably the most crucial of the month. Sam Johnston, David Elebert and Mark Kelly replaced Jason Mooney, Adam McAleenan and Aaron Boyd in the starting eleven which faced Ballymena on Tuesday night.
An early Newry freekick saw Mark Hughes’ shot from a dangerous position fly over the bar. In the sixteenth minute a lovely pass into the box from David McAllister couldn’t be converted by either Eamon McAllister or Jonny Frazer.
In the seventeenth minute the Newry stopper Andrew Coleman produced a wonderful save to deny Kym Nelson’s
header. The home side’s keeper continued to deny Ards with David Elebert’s header from an Eamon McAllister corner being well saved in the eighteenth minute.
Declan Carville’s pass to Hughes saw his shot from the left hand side well blocked by Ards keeper Sam Johnston. Then Craig McClean’s shot from distance curled just over the bar in the twenty fourth minute. Ards continued to press with David McAllister’s shot from the edge of the box trickling past the post in the forty third minute.
In the dying seconds of the half the Red and Blue Army thought they’d scored when Nelson’s ball into the box connected with Mark Kelly at the back post, but his header was denied by the Newry keeper. However the rebound fell to Josh Kelly who found the back of the net, but the linesman ruled the goal offside. The half ended goalless.
In the fiftieth minute Dale Montgomery’s shot from inside the box was well saved by Johnston. A defensive mistake from Ards was then nearly punished when Stephen Teggart’s strong shot was goal bound, but good teamwork between Johnston and Eamon McAllister cleared the danger.
David McAllister tried his luck from outside the box but his shot was wide of the left post in the sixty third minute. Not long after that Frazer’s well timed pass to Mark Kelly saw his shot tipped over by the Newry stopper.
In the seventy fifth minute, a misjudgment from David Elebert gave Mark Hughes time and space with his shot from inside the box finding the bottom right corner to make it 1-0
It didn’t take long for Newry to get their second when, two minutes later, Dara Noonan’s header was well saved by Johnston but the rebound was knocked in by John Boyle to make it 2-0.
Ards’ last chance of the game came in the eighty second minute when Frazer’s ball led to substitute Ryan Strain being through on goal but his shot was blocked. The game ended 2-0.
Another heartbreaking result for Ards which sees them fall to the bottom of the table, with next week’s opponents high flying Glenavon.
Starting 11: Sam Johnston, Eamon McAllister, Callum Byers, Craig McClean, Johnny Taylor, David Elebert, Jonny Frazer, Josh Kelly, Kym Nelson, David McAllister and Mark Kelly.
Used substitutes: Ryan Strain (for Eamon McAllister)
Unused substitutes: Jason Mooney, Michael Kerr, Kyle Cherry, Jonah Mitchell, Gareth Tommons and Adam McAleenan.
Yellow cards: David Elebert, Mark Kelly and Jonny Frazer.