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Danske Bank Premiership

Ards 2 Ballinamallard 0


Goals from Michael Ruddy and Guillaume Keke handed Ards a fine 2-0 win over Ballinamallard United at the Bangor Fuels Arena in the Danske Bank Premiership fixture.


In their first home fixture since the debacle against Carrick in early February, Ards sought for and found redemption, with an excellent performance against Ballinamallard United last night in Bangor.


In a display full of passion and intensity, Ards overcame their visitors in some style to earn three valuable points. The result, in fact, was much more emphatic than the scoreline would suggest.


Hitting the ground running, Ards went at the Ducks from the off and could have been in front as early as the third minute. Michael Ruddy found Carl McComb inside the penalty box, but Richard Brush was able to avert the danger.


On 17 minutes, flavour of the month, Guillaume Keke, sent over a cross that found McComb, but the striker’s parting shot was well kept out by Brush.


Ards were well on top and deservedly took the lead on 37 minutes. A poor back-pass sold Brush short and Keke nipped in to take advantage. A quick turn of pace and some nifty footwork forced the keeper into a rash challenge on the Frenchman, and referee McGrath instantly pointed to the spot.


Michael Ruddy blasted the spot kick past the overworked Brush to record his eighth successive penalty conversion of the season.


The home side nearly doubled their lead four minutes before the interval when Keke headed McAllister’s fantastic cross over the crossbar.


Ards continued to dominate in the new half, the Mallards were finding it difficult to get hold of the ball as Josh Doherty and David McCullough ran the show in midfield.


The indefatigable McCullough’s industry in the middle of the park was allowing partner Doherty to showcase his silky skills. Doherty was finding plenty of time on the ball and his range of passing was a treat to watch.


The former Leyton Orient man found McAllister down the left with a pinpoint pass on 64 minutes. The tricky winger raced down the line and put the ball into the penalty area. Keke was first to react and finished neatly at the near post to give him his third goal in two matches.


Shortly after Ards nearly had their third when David McCullough fired off a half-volley from the edge of the box, this time Brush palmed the goal bound effort away for a corner.


The Ducks went up a gear and almost clawed their way back in to the contest with 10 minutes remaining. A corner kick created havoc in the area, McCann hooked a shot towards goals, but man-of-the-match Keke hoofed the ball clear.


Home supporters feared that skilful wide player Ryan Mayse would be the visitor’s main threat, but the defence, obviously well-briefed, kept close tabs on him. With a few minutes remaining, Mayse sped in on goal, but Ruddy did enough to force him to shoot wide.


That was the last of the action as Ards secured the points that could go a long way towards preserving their Premiership status.


10th March 2017


Team

18 Aaron Hogg, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 2 Greg Hall, 3 Michael Ruddy, 5 Johnny Taylor, 6 David McCullough, 11 David McAllister, 16 Gareth Tommons, 17 Carl McComb, 43 Josh Doherty, 19 Guillaume Keke


Substitutes

12 Jordan Hughes (for McAllister 77), 9 Gary Liggett (for McComb 83), 8 Ross Arthurs (for Tommons 90), 41 Kevin Bradley, 42 Matthew Shevlin


Referee

Peter McGrath


Yellows

Ruddy (61)


Attendance

308


Match Sponsors

Regent Flooring, Regent Street, Newtownards & Premier Ards Supporters Club.