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Danske Bank Premiership

Ards 1 Linfield 5


Ards visited the National Stadium for the third time this season and in line with their recent form at the Belfast venue, they went home licking their wounds after suffering another heavy defeat.


In the previous two visits the games were over by half-time, so Ards fans feared the worst when their team fell a goal behind after only five minutes. Cameron Stewart climbed highest to nod home Smyth’s corner kick. A short time later, Aaron Hogg pulled off a wonder save to deny Waterworth.


Ards did rally a bit and got on level terms on fifteen minutes. Good play down the flank saw McAllister thread the ball through to Ruddy who in turn found the unmarked Keke. The Frenchman finished well into the corner to give him his eighth strike of the season.


Ards’ renaissance was short lived as the Blues regained the lead 12 minutes later. Kirk Millar dinking the ball into the corner of the net from close range.


Linfield kept the pressure on as they used the expanse of the pitch and their nippy wide men to good effect. They were attacking at will, but couldn’t add to their tally.


The visitors thought they had got to the break with only a one goal deficit, but in stoppage time Andrew Waterworth put his side 3-1 up.


Smyth went down the right and played into the penalty area, former Ardsman Waterworth swivelled and planted the ball beyond Hogg’s reach.


Ards couldn’t get a look in as the home side continued their domination. Numerous chances were wasted before Linfield added their fourth on 67 minutes. Kirk Millar was proving a handful all day and it was from his cross that Stephen Lowry finished off in style.


The County Down side were now looking at a damage limitation exercise, but their cause was not helped by Johnny Taylor’s dismissal in added time. Already on a yellow card, he needlessly and foolishly took out Burns with a body check. The defender began his walk to the changing rooms long before the referee had time to take out his card.


Ards’ misery was complete when Burns fired home with almost the last kick of the game to give the Belfast side a resounding 5-1 victory.


Not a good day for Ards. They set up in an attacking manner, which was very commendable, but tactically naïve as it played into their superior opponent’s hands.


18th 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

20 Kyle Cherry (for McCullough 42), 9 Gary Liggett (for McComb 61), 7 Craig McMillen (for Doherty 69), 21 Callum Byers, 42 Matthew Shevlin


Referee

S. Gregg


Yellows

Friars (6), Cherry (56)


Sent off
Johnny Taylor (90 + 2)


Attendance