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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
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
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
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