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Donegal Celtic 0 Ards 6

A first half brace from Ben Browne helped us into a 4-0 half-time lead at Donegal Celtic Park with two more added after the break.

Six goals without reply suggested just how comfortable this friendly win was as Ards even had the luxury of a first half penalty miss. Their intentions were on show early, when on three minutes a free kick from Browne struck the face of the Celtic crossbar with the keeper beaten.

The opening goal came on 17 minutes from another free kick. This one was wide on the right, whipped in by Craig McMillen who had the beating of Sean McIlhone.

On 21 minutes it became 2-0 with a bit of brilliance from Browne. He ducked by a couple of defenders on the edge of penalty box before pausing to pick out a spot right in the top left hand corner that McIlhone had no chance of reaching.

On 24 minutes Ards were awarded a penalty when Gary Liggett won the race for the ball only to be taken down by the keeper. The same player’s spot kick was too kindly hit to have the beating of McIlhone though.

Five minutes from the break Browne made it 3-0 when he got on the end of a cross from the left to side foot the ball through a crowded box and find the net. Then, in the final minute of the half, Browne turned provider as he cut a pass through the DC defence for Liggett to run onto before tucking the ball underneath the keeper.

Just three of the starting XI returned for the second half as Niall Currie made wholesale changes, introducing ex Cliftonville man Fra Brennan among others.

Although Ards were well on top, the pressing that had defined the first half was not as evident and there was some time to wait for another goal. On 55 minutes Jamie Rea had supplied a great cross for Guillaume Keke but the striker failed to connect properly with a header. A fiercely struck effort from Jack Upritchard then cannoned back off the far upright with the goalkeeper beaten.

Finally came the fifth goal on 81 minutes. The returning Liggett showed show good footwork on the left of the area before playing a pass inside for Keke, who side footed home.

The scoring was wrapped up four minutes from time when Gerard McMullan played a one-two with Liggett and when the ball was returned McMullan was well placed to tuck his shot by the keeper.

First half team

18 Aaron Hogg, 2 Greg Hall, 20 Emmett Friars, 15 Stuart McMullan, 3 Michael Ruddy, 6 Ben Browne, 16 David McCullough, 9 Joe McKinney, 7 Craig McMillen, 18 Gary Liggett (19 Gerard McMullan), 8 Guillaume Keke

Second half team

1 Liam McAuley, 18 Callum Byers, 2 Fra Brennan, 5 Johnny Taylor, 11 Jamie Rea, 6 David McCullough (12 Dalton Tate), 16 Kyle Buckley, 7 Gerard McMullan, 4 David McAllister, 10 Jack Upritchard, 14 Guillaume Keke

19th July 2016

Ben Brown struck twice against Donegal Celtic
Picture: Gareth McCluskey