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Wakehurst 1 Ards 2


Ards produced a patchy display in Castledawson against Ballymena & Provincial League side Wakehurst, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Michael Ruddy and Craig McMillen.


Nine of the starting XI were making their first appearance in an Ards shirt, while the four unused subs were products of the club's youth system. Central defender Johnny Taylor was captain for the day.


The first chance of note arrived in the eighth minute when Craig McMillen's quick throw found trialist Gareth Tommons. The former Coleraine midfielder sprinted through on goal, only pull his shot just past the post.


Another trialist, Frenchman Guillaume Keke rattled the post in the 23rd minute. He latched onto a McMillen pass, before drilling the ball against the woodwork from the edge of the area.


The opening goal arrived in first-half stoppage time, when new left-back Michael Ruddy swept a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner, to give Ards the lead. Wakehurst levelled the score in the 54th minute when Stuart Nixon headed home a free-kick from the right-flank.


Ards had plenty of possession but they struggled to open up Wakehurst. Kyle Cherry went close in the 65th minute, forcing the Wakehurst goalkeeper into a fine save with his feet.


Just when it looked like the game was set for a draw, Ards found a winner in the 89th minute. Tommons split the Wakehurst defence with a ball over the top, that allowed McMillen to run through on goal. McMillen lofted the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper, and into the net.


Although Ards came away with the win, this game will not live long in the memory.


Team

Aaron Hogg, Greg Hall, Johnny Taylor, Stuart McMullan, Michael Ruddy, Gerard McMullan, Gareth Tommons, Kyle Cherry, Jamie Rea, Craig McMillen, Guillaume Keke


Substitutes

Jordan Mulholland, Matthew Andrews, Noah Crenshaw, Vitalis Ogunwa


9th July 2016

Craig McMillen found the Ards winner late in the game
Picture: Gareth McCluskey