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Danske Bank Premiership

Dungannon Swifts 3 Ards 3

A spirited display at Stangmore Park saw Ards return home with a division of the spoils.

Dungannon were slow starters and Ards took advantage after 12 minutes when Guillaume Keke slotted home inside the box. Ross Arthurs was the provider as he scooped the ball over his head, Keke trekked the flight of the ball and slotted home into the corner of the net.

The goal acted as a wake-up call as the Swifts soon found their rhythm. Their crisp passing game had Ards running around in circles for the remainder of the half. They deservedly got on level terms ten minutes before the break.

Ards’ hesitant defence failed to clear Lockhart’s corner kick and Wilson had little difficulty in prodding the ball over the line from a few yards out.

The dominant home side remained on top but couldn’t add to their tally. The overworked Ards rear-guard held firm and the half-time whistle came as a welcome relief.

Dungannon started the second half in sprightly fashion, but were stunned by a strike from Keke on 51 minutes that will be a ‘Goal of the Season’ contender. The powerful Frenchman made room for himself out on the left then from the edge of the penalty area he unleashed a shot that flew into the net like a rocket.

Clearly stunned, the Swifts were knocked out of their stride for a while, but soon regained their composure. Ards’ defending at set pieces was less than convincing all afternoon and it was little surprise when Dungannon equalised from another corner kick on 63 minutes.

The kick landed on the edge of the six-yard box where former Ardsman Andrew Mitchell reacted quickest to tap the ball over the line.

Dungannon continued to pour forward and it was no surprise when they went in front for the first time on 63 minutes. From outside the box, Cormac Burke curled a great right-footed shot into the corner of the net and beyond an outstretched Hogg.

Ards were struggling to find a foothold on the game and only for some desperate defending would have found themselves further behind.

Then out of the blue came the equaliser. An unmarked Liggett, a second-half substitute for Arthurs, headed home Ruddy’s free kick with 14 minutes remaining.

The Tyrone men threw everything at Ards as they went in pursuit of the winner. The Ards back four stayed strong and although it wasn’t pretty at times, they held out until the final whistle to secure a hard-earned point.

25th February 2017


18 Aaron Hogg, 2 Greg Hall, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 5 Johnny Taylor, 3 Michael Ruddy, 16 David McCullough, 16 Gareth Tommons, 43 Josh Doherty, 11 David McAllister, 19 Guillaume Keke, 8 Ross Arthurs


9 Gary Liggett (for Arthurs 59), 42 Matthew Shevlin (for Keke 74), 12 Jordan Hughes, 17 Carl McComb, 41 Kevin Bradley


Ross Dunlop


Keke (12 & 51), Liggett (76)


Friars (77), Hall (68), McCullough (44)


Match highlights (BBC Sport NI)

Picture: Gareth McCluskey