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Danske Bank Premiership
Ards 4 Dungannon 1
In the first post-split game, with the Swifts chasing a European play-off place,
and in weather more like Barcelona than Bangor, the match held much promise and didn’t
fail to deliver.
It was Ards, and their eventual man of the match Mathew Shevlin, who had the opening
chance in the first minute with the ball sliding just past the left-hand post.
Shevlin was again involved shortly afterwards, but Josh Doherty just failed to connect
to his pass.
In the eighth minute Ards keeper Aaron Hogg pulled off a fine double-save as the
Swifts pressed for the breakthrough.
Chris Hegarty then picked up a yellow card for a mistimed tackle on Ards’ Kyle Cherry
just before the breakthrough.
The first goal of the game arrived when a poor back-pass let in Mathew Shevlin, who
was fouled in the area by the Swifts’ keeper Andy Coleman, leading to the award of
Penalty specialist Michael Ruddy made no mistake from the spot blasting his shot
down the middle. 1-0 in the 14th minute!
Ards scored again eight minutes later when Guillaume Keke beat two defenders before
shooting, with Mathew Shevlin knocking in the rebound to make it 2-0.
The Swifts’ keeper Andy Coleman was injured in the collision, and left the pitch
after a period of treatment, being replaced by Stuart Addis.
The Swifts then pulled one back in the 30th minute when Chris Hegarty powered in
a header following a free-kick.
The Swifts continued to press for an equaliser, with a number of chances including
a looping header from Peter McMahon and a close-range effort from the league’s leading
goal-scorer Andrew Mitchell, just before half-time.
Jarlath O’Rourke picked up an early yellow card in the second half for the Swifts
whilst, for Ards, great footwork by Keke was followed by a disappointing effort on
Cormac Burke then replaced Seanen Clucas for the Swifts in the 56th minute, just
before another Ards goal, with Ryan Harpur, the Swifts captain, being dispossessed
by Mathew Shevlin who scored against the run of play.
This was followed almost immediately afterwards by Craig McMillen’s speculative shot
from the half-way line almost catching out the Swifts’ substitute keeper.
Ards’ fourth goal arrived in the 64th minute when more good work from Mathew Shevlin
was followed by a smart turn and left-foot finish from Ards marksman, Guillaume Keke.
Injured man of the match Mathew Shevlin was then replaced in the 70th minute by Carl
Craig McMillen had another half-chance, before being replaced with 7 minutes left
by Joshua Kelly making his debut in the red and blue of Ards.
The game then drew to a close as the Swifts’ hopes of a European place took a blow,
whilst Ards secured another season with the top teams in the Premiership.