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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
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.
Aaron Hogg, Greg Hall, Johnny Taylor, Stuart McMullan, Michael Ruddy, Gerard McMullan,
Gareth Tommons, Kyle Cherry, Jamie Rea, Craig McMillen, Guillaume Keke
Jordan Mulholland, Matthew Andrews, Noah Crenshaw, Vitalis Ogunwa
9th July 2016
Craig McMillen found the Ards winner late in the game Picture: Gareth McCluskey