Lough 41 Championship.
Newry City vs Ards.
The Showgrounds Newry.
Friday 27th August @ 7.45 p.m
The clash of the early season pace-setters should attract a healthy crowd to the Newry Showground as Darren Mullen and John Bailie aim to keep their respective squads top of the pile. One thing is sure, when the final whistle blows one or both of the teams will have lost their 100% record, but if it ends a draw they could both remain unbeaten, an outcome that would surely please visiting fans more than the home faithful.
Like Ards the home side have played three home games so far, courtesy of the Welders new ground being unavailable, last Saturday was their first away fixture when they travelled to play Dergview and came away with a 2-0 win. Previous results were comfortable wins against Institute on the opening day of the season and Knockbreda, 5-1 and 3-0 respectively, although their 3-2 victory over the Welders, which was between those two games, came as a result of an injury time winner from a Daniel Hughes penalty.
Newry are one of the sides considered title contenders and their panel includes the experience of ex Northern Ireland international Ryan McGivern at the back and Newry born Daniel Hughes up front, Hughes has returned to Newry after spells with Cliftonville, Dungannon and Warrenpoint. Although he is a regular scorer he is not the only danger as Thomas Lockhart scored both goals against Dergview. The match day squad could also include a couple of faces familiar to Ards fans with Fra Brennan and Mark Kelly both having featured this season.
Ards fans will hope their side can improve on recent visits to Newry, which hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the Red and Blues, but form so far this season has been encouraging with a good team spirit in evidence to go along with some quality goals. For a variety of reasons John Bailie has been forced to make changes most weeks but it does mean that more players have had game time. Returning to the panel this week will be Darius Roohi and Jamie Glover who both played and scored for Sparta Belfast in the recent futsal tournament in Estonia.
The PASC will be running a bus to this fixture, leaving the Social Club/Gibson's Lane at 6.15 p.m.
Referee : Ben McMaster.
1st Assistant : Stephen Donaldson.
2nd Assistant : Jamie Cairnduff.