Glentoran 1 v 1 Ards - Danske Bank Premiership

Saturday, 29 April, 2017 - By Jana McCabe

For the last game of the 2016-17 season Ards were without club captain Emmet Friars and the in-form Matthew Shevlin, whilst Glentoran gave some young players time in the green, red and black of the home side.

Both teams had chances in the opening stages with Glentoran captain Marcus Kane nearly catching Aaron Hogg out but, thankfully for Ards, his shot took a deflection.

Greg Hall’s lovely pass to David McAllister was forwarded to Keke giving Ards their first chance, but Ards’ top-scorer couldn’t deliver the early goal that Ards supporters have become accustomed to in recent matches.

Craig McMillen showed promise when his flying header nearly got past Glens’ stopper Dwayne Nelson.  The lively McMillen then took another shot from the 25-yard line which was comfortably saved by Nelson.

Glentoran immediately reacted in the 17th minute when a free kick from Jonathan Smith struck the underside of the bar.  Eight minutes later the Glens struck the woodwork again with a fine strike from Ross Redman hitting the post, with the rebound cleared away by the Ards defence.

Then, against the run of play, in the 29th minute, Ards grabbed the opener when McMillen’s corner was met by Kyle Cherry whose glancing header nestled in the corner of the net. 1-0 to Ards.

Ards then pushed for a second when a lovely pass from Hall was controlled by Carl McComb in the 41st minute but his shot just failed to stretch the Glens’ keeper.

So the first half drew to a close with Ards looking good for a first league win at the Oval since 1987!

Ards started the second half with McMillen and Keke both having shots saved. In the 65th minute the Glens’ Jonathan Addis sustained what looked like a nasty injury and was stretchered off to be replaced by Paul O’Neill.

Glentoran then pressed for the equaliser when Aaron Hogg was caught out in the 72nd minute failing to notice Curtis Allen behind him, but Johnny Taylor was able to clear Allen’s goalbound shot with a wonderful goal-line clearance.

The home side then secured the equaliser when Jonathon Smith’s corner gave Eric Foley the chance to head in from close range in the 72nd minute. 1-1.

Two minutes later Glentoran were awarded a penalty when Aaron Hogg pulled down the advancing Smith.  Smith himself stepped up to take the penalty, and possibly secure all 3 points for the Glens, but Hogg redeemed himself with a fine save down low to his right.

Both teams had a couple of late chances with Marcus Kane and Curtis Allen for the Glens, and McMillen and Keke for Ards, but neither side could win the game.

So, stalemate in Ards’ last game of the season, finishing one point above their opponents in 8th place and securing their highest finish in the league since the 2003/04 season.

Roll on next season!

Ards - A.Hogg, G.Hall, M.Ruddy, C.Byers, J.Taylor, K.Cherry, C.McMillen, J.Kelly, G.Keke, C.McComb, D.McAllister.  Subs used: G.Liggett, J.Mitchell, R.Arthurs.  Subs unused: J.Hughes, A.McAleenan.

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