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Danske Bank Premiership
Ards 2 Ballymena United 4
MATCH SPONSOR: MARTIN PHILLIPS CARPETS
A succession of errors contrived to hand Ballymena the three points at Bangor Fuels
Arena today as they got the better of us for the first time this season.
The Sky Blues got revenge for their loss in the quarter final of the County Antrim
Shield 11 days ago and at the same moved up into joint second in the Premiership
table as we were left to reflect on a particularly bad day at the office.
Within the first minute Ballymena had showed their effectiveness in the danger area
as Jonny McMurray snuck in behind the defence to get off a shot that Aaron Hogg had
to be alert to beat away.
There were few chances for either team after that, until Ards’ Joe McKinney got the
better of his man on 29 minutes to release a shot that goalkeeper Ross Glendinning
stopped with his trailing leg.
The first half had been a tight battle, with Ballymena working the Ards defence hard
and for the most part, we soaked up the pressure well but the awarding of the penalty
for Ballymena’s opening goal on 35 minutes, the first cracks in the home backline
began to show. Cathair Friel’s turn of pace high up on the left of the field drew
a misguided challenge from Fra Brennan, who caught the midfielder from behind just
as he entered the area. Referee Hetherington was in no doubt and up stepped Tony
Kane to fire in the spot kick.
Ards had barely time to regroup before United grabbed their second. Even more serious
questions could be asked about the defending for Friel’s own goal on 38 minutes as
he found himself in clear space right on the goal line to tap in a well placed cross
Four minutes into the new half and Ards appeared to have steadied the ship when we
got a goal back through David McAllister. The winger showed great durability as he
battled through a packed penalty area to send the ball past Glendinning and reduce
The joy for Niall Currie’s team was short lived though as Ballymena restored their
two goal cushion just two minutes later. Ards defender Johnny Taylor was the man
who could ultimately be credited with the assist as his sloppy header back towards
goal fell well short of reaching Aaron Hogg and Friel was able to nip in and head
the ball over the blameless goalkeeper.
The Ards stopper was very much to the fore though on 69 minutes when he raced bravely
off his line to shut down an attack from McMurray, who had looked odds on to add
to the score.
On 77 minutes what looked like Ards’ best chance for some time saw substitute Carl
McComb knock the ball back from the byeline for Jamie Douglas, who would be just
off target with a clever backheel.
Ballymena would put the result beyond doubt with a fourth goal on 84 minutes. Jenkins’
long pass out of his own half sent Friel well clear of the Ards defence to run in
one-on-one against Hogg and the hat-trick was completed as the league’s top scorer
pushed the ball around the keeper to finish off in front of his own fans.
Late on in added time, Ards pulled a goal back when Craig McMillen bent the ball
just inside Glendinning’s left hand post but it was too little too late to deflect
fans’ frustrations at the end of a disappointing day.
5th November 2016
18 Aaron Hogg, 38 Fra Brennan, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 5 Johnny Taylor, 3 Michael
Ruddy, 6 David McCullough, 16 Gareth Tommons, 7 Craig McMillen, 10 Joe McKinney,
11 David McAllister, 40 Jamie Douglas
2 Greg Hall, 4 Stuart McMullan, 9 Gary Liggett (for Tommons 71), 17 Carl McComb (for
McAllister 69), 20 Kyle Cherry (for Brennan h/t)