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Danske Bank Premiership
Cliftonville 2 Ards 1

Cliftonville came from a goal behind to record a second victory of the season over us at Solitude.

A positive first half display from Ards has us ahead at the break but poor defensive errors in the second half let Davy McDaid and Levi Ives in to score and win the three points for Cliftonville.

Ards began the game brightly and looked easily the better side in the opening quarter of an hour, the highlight of which was Stuart McMullan’s header from a corner that went over the bar on 16 minutes.

Five minutes later and a good break up the field saw McMullan release Guillaume Keke who took on the Cliftonville defence before driving the ball into the side netting.

Up to this point Cliftonville really hadn’t started and their best opening of the half – Chris Curran’s shot from the edge of the area on 27 minutes – caused no trouble for Aaron Hogg.

We took the lead on 29 minutes from the penalty spot. Carl McComb’s pass to Keke inside the area wasn’t well controlled by the forward but the loose ball was subsequently handled by Levi Ives on the deck and Michael Ruddy dispatched the resulting penalty to Peter Burke’s left.

As expected Cliftonville were sharper out of the blocks for the second half, to the point that they were level within three minutes. A real catalogue of errors in the Ards defence saw Hogg and Ruddy, among others, fail to clear and when the ball fell for McDaid he passed it low into the bottom corner.

On the hour Hogg had to get down at his right hand post to keep out a shot from Curran and three minutes later Kym Nelson cleared the Ards bar with his own effort as Cliftonville piled on further pressure.

By 65 minutes the Reds were in front. Daniel Hughes broke to the Ards byeline to pull the ball back to the edge of the box where Ives collected the pass and opened up space to steer a low shot just inside the upright.

Ards had failed to really respond to Cliftonville’s new threat but a free kick from Ruddy, drilled right down the middle on 74 minutes did force Burke into a save.

It was near constant pressure from Cliftonville for the remainder of the game with Martin Donnelly drawing another save from Hogg as the home side eased their way to the final whistle.

14th January 2017


18 Aaron Hogg (GK), 41 Kevin Bradley, 4 Stuart McMullan, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 3 Michael Ruddy, 7 Craig McMillen, 20 Kyle Cherry, 6 David McCullough, 11 David McAllister, 17 Carl McComb, 19 Guillaume Keke


2 Greg Hall, 5 Johnny Taylor, 8 Ross Arthurs (for McCullough 78), 12 Jordan Hughes (for McComb 75), 42 Matthew Shevlin (for Keke (61)


Raymond Hetherington


Ruddy (29 pen)



Match highlights (BBC Sport NI)

Michael Ruddy scored his seventh successive penalty kick against Cliftonville
Picture: Gareth McCluskey