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CARRICK RANGERS 2 v  2 ARDS - DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP

SATURDAY, 15 APRIL, 2017

By Jana McCabe


With the Amber Army's relegation fight continuing and the Red & Blue Army celebrating confirmation of another year in the top flight, the game started off at quite a pace, with the first half in particular providing plenty of action.

It was Ards's Matthew Shevlin, continuing on from his man-of-the-match performance in the victory against Dungannon Swifts, with the first real chance of the game, but his attempt on goal lacked power and the Carrick keeper Brian Neeson was able to retrieve Shevlin's shot after only 2 minutes.

Ards continued their early pressure with McMillen's cross to Shevlin forcing a corner that lead the breakthrough being broken.  Kyle Cherry stepped up to take the corner which was cleared by a Carrick defender, but the clearance was met sweetly by Keke on the volley from the edge of the penalty box to give Ards an early lead in the third minute.

Ards continued to create most of the early running with Cherry shooting just too high from outside the box.  Rangers then survived another scare after the referee controversially let giant centre half Paddy McNally off with only a yellow card after he had fouled Matthew Shevlin as he bore down on goal.

In the 15th minute Ards should have scored again when Kevin Bradley cleverly tricked his way past his marker before crossing to Shevlin whose shot looked destined for the back of the net, before Neeson pulled off a great save to block.  The rebound then fell to Keke in a similar area to his first goal, but his effort on goal hit his team-mate Shevlin and went over the crossbar.

Shevlin continued his fine form with a lovely back-heel to Keke who was denied his second with another good save from Rangers' keeper Brian Neeson.

Ards had let Carrick come in to the game, and Rangers were denied a penalty when Martin Murray was felled in the box.  In the 39th minute, and against the run of play, Keke got his second of the game with a crisp deflected shot from just outside the box.

However Carrick quickly hit back when, 2 minutes later, the dangerous Martin Murray scored with a strong shot following a nice back-flick from Declan O'Brien.

Carrick then scored again 3 minutes later just before half-time, Paddy McNally tying the game up as Ards failed to defend a corner with the defender heading in unchallenged. 2-2.

Two goals per side after the first half made the outcome of the second half critical, as it looked like Carrick would press hard for all 3 points, but the second half was a disappointment.

In the 84th minute Ards had a great chance with a good header from Keke giving Doherty a run on goal but he couldn't finish. That miss could have cost Ards 2 points with Fra Rice again having a shot on goal and, as Carrick pressed for a winner, Sean Noble's shot creeping just wide in the first of six added minutes, before the game petered out.


Ards - A.Hogg, K.Bradley, J.Doherty, C.Byers, J.Taylor, K.Cherry, C.McMillen, G.Tommons, G.Keke, M.Shevlin, D.McAllister.  Subs used: G.Liggett, J.Mitchell.  Subs unused: S.McMullan, J.Hughes, R.Arthurs.




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