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Danske Bank Premiership

Coleraine 1 Ards 1

The Colin Nixon era began with a deserved point from today’s trip to Coleraine although the late sending off for Johnny Taylor will have disappointed the new manager.

Brad Lyons’ goal on 51 minutes secured a point for the home side after David McAllister had put us in front in the first half. But Taylor’s dismissal, which will rule him out of the key Boxing Day match with Carrick, will have taken the shine off a battling Ards display.

Aaron Hogg was back between the sticks for Ards but despite Coleraine’s dominance of the first period, the keeper in truth had little to do. After defending an early free kick well, it was Ards who were creating the better chances.

On 14 minutes a good run and shot from Joe McKinney demanded a save from Chris Johns and then with 29 minutes played Johns was there to block a free kick from Michael Ruddy.

Ards were certainly struggling to deal with Coleraine’s advances but would weather the storm to take the lead against the run of play on 40 minutes. A ball into the Coleraine box from the right was flicked on first from Ross Arthurs, then McKinney to reach McAllister who blasted the home after Johns had saved his first effort.

The Ards lead would not last too long into the second half however as Coleraine levelled from a 51st minute corner. Neil McCafferty’s ball in from the right found the head of Lyons in the centre and he powered home unchallenged.

A chance to turn the match in their favour followed for Coleraine six minutes later when a good run out on the right from Sammy Morrow took him past a couple of defenders before he placed a shot wide of the far post.

The second half was turning into a real battle as both sides had their share of possession and on 72 minutes McMillen passed up a great opportunity to put us in front.

Out on the right Guilaume Keke’s flick on found McKinney and he whipped a great ball over a defender’s for McMillen who directed his free header over the bar from just a couple of yards out.

On 79 minutes we came just as close again to edging ahead when a foul on McKinney saw us awarded a free kick dead centre 30 yards out. Substitute Jordan Hughes stepped up and cracked a brilliant effort off the base of Johns’ left hand upright.

It looked as though Ards had done enough to secure a point but there were a nervous last few minutes after Taylor picked up his second yellow card in injury time for apparent dissent to the referee.

17th December 2016


18 Aaron Hogg, 2 Greg Hall, 5 Johnny Taylor, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 3 Michael Ruddy, 6 David McCullough, 16 Gareth Tommons, 7 Craig McMillen (capt.), 8 Ross Arthurs, 11 David McAllister, 10 Joe McKinney


4 Stuart McMullan, 12 Jordan Hughes (for McAllister 52, 14 Fra Brennan, 17 Carl McComb (for Tommons 86), 19 Guillaume Keke (for Arthurs 62)


Neil Robinson


Taylor (58, 90+2), McMillen (63), Friars (82)

Taylor (90+2)




Match highlights (BBC Sport NI)

David McAllister scored our goal in the first half
Picture: Gareth Tommons