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Danske Bank Premiership

Portadown 0 Ards 3

Ards put the smiles back on the faces of their supporters after a fine display at Shamrock Park. Without a win in 2017, the fans were fearing the worst against Portadown, but it was evident from the off that this Ards team were well-motivated for this contest.

Reverting to a tried and trusted 4-4-2 system, Ards began the contest in a lively manner and were dictating play early on. A few half-chances were created then on 22 minutes the visitors put together a fantastic move that resulted in them taking the lead.

A clever interchange of passes down the left between McAllister and Ruddy saw the full-back whip in a great cross that Kyle Cherry smashed into the roof of the net from the inside the penalty area.

The Ports were struggling to get a grip on the game and their cause wasn’t helped when defender Ken Oman was dismissed for a reckless lunge on Johnny Taylor on 37 minutes. Referee Shane Andrews went straight for his red card and dispatched Oman to the dressing rooms.

The home side were given a brief lifeline when Aaron Hogg needlessly gave away a penalty. The keeper came out to fist away a cross, but only succeeded in flattening Tiarnan Mulvenna. Hogg atoned for his error when he dived to his right to keep out Niall Henderson’s spot kick. After a bit of a scramble the ball was eventually hoofed away.

Ards went to the break one goal to the good and well in control.

As expected, Portadown went gung-ho in the new half and applied a fair bit of pressure. They went to three at the back in an attempt to wrestle control of the contest. They did see a lot of the ball, Garrett in particular was very lively, but for all their possession, they rarely troubled Hogg in goals.

The Ards defence were competently dealing with anything that the Ports threw at them, they also started to exploit the pockets of space that the extra man gave them. Indeed, if Keke had brought his shooting boots, the contest would have been over long before the whistle.

Keke, to be fair, was instrumental in most of the Ards attacks and he set up his striking colleague, Ross Arthurs, on 64 minutes to double Ards’ advantage. Showing good strength he made room for himself, then picked out an unmarked Arthurs on his left, the Kircubbin man eventually found a way past Jack Duffin.

Ards’ game management was spot on as they continued to keep it tight and hit their opponents on the break. Second half substitute, Matthew Shevlin, sealed the three points when he latched onto a long clearance with a few minutes remaining.

The fleet-of-foot forward sprinted clear and buried his shot past Duffin from 15-yards with a few minutes to spare. That was the end of the action as Ards collected three very valuable points and banished the dark cloud hanging over the club since last weekend’s shambolic home defeat to Carrick.

11th February 2017


18 Aaron Hogg, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 3 Michael Ruddy, 5 Johnny Taylor, 2 Greg Hall, 16 Gareth Tommons, 20 Kyle Cherry, 11 David McAllister, 43 Josh Doherty, 8 Ross Arthurs, 19 Guillaume Keke


F6 David McCullough (for Doherty, 64), 12 Jordan Hughes (for Arthurs 90), 17 Carl McComb, 41 Kevin Bradley, 42 Matthew Shevlin (for Keke, 90)


Shane Andrews


Ruddy (49), Doherty (45 + 3)