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Northern Ireland League Cup, round 3

Ards 2 Warrenpoint Town 3 (after extra time)


Two equalising goals from Guillaume Keke were not enough as we made a disappointing exit from the League Cup at the hands of Championship team Warrenpoint.

A first half to forget for Ards saw Warrenpoint head comfortably in at the break 1-0 up but a vast improvement in the second half saw Keke pull the match level and send the tie into extra-time. A goal for each team took the score to two-all, before Warrenpoint upped their game to hit Ards twice in the dying minutes and book their place in the last eight.

Right from the start Warrenpoint looked the more dangerous outfit and they should have taken the lead on seven minutes when Stephen Murray found himself in space only to be denied by a save from Aaron Hogg before an alert Ross Arthurs cleared the follow-up off the goal line.

The visitors’ opening goal did arrive on the quarter hour, when Liam Bagnall picked out the totally unmarked John McGuigan on the right of the Ards area and he fired a shot through keeper Hogg’s legs.

Ards’ were struggling to make much of an impact but a chance did open up on 27 minutes when Jordan Hughes found Michael Ruddy and he turned well before firing off a low shot that ran just wide of the Town goal.

The introduction of wingers David McAllister and Craig McMillen early in the second half gave Ards a fresh look and our game improved, with chances soon following. On 60 minutes a shot from the edge of the box by Gareth Tommons didn’t beat the crossbar by much and then on 73 minutes Carl McComb was denied by a back post save from Stephen Maguire while David McAllister’s follow up was deflected away for a corner.

From that resulting corner Ards finally got back in the game. McMillen’s ball from the right was swung out to the far post where Ruddy sent a header goal bound and Keke was in the right place at the right time to help the shot over the goal line.

With no further goals, the game headed into 30 minutes extra-time but Ards failed to carry their second half dominance into the additional period as Warrenpoint fought back. Barry Gray’s team re-took the lead on 92 minutes as a cross from the right found the head of Tiernan Mulvenna and although the effort was well saved by Hogg, he could do nothing to prevent McGuigan scoring the follow up.

A minute from the half time change around Ards pulled the match level again and once more it was Keke on the scoresheet as he took advantage of a mix-up between a defender and keeper Maguire to swivel on the spot and hook in the equaliser from 6 yards.

Warrenpoint showed their resilience once more though, hitting Ards for a third time with 111 minutes gone as McGuigan ploughed the middle of the Ards lines to fire in his hat-trick goal, despite the best efforts of Aaron Hogg.

Ards would rue a missed chance three minutes later when neither Keke nor Gary Liggett could get the better of Maguire and a quick breakaway at the other end soon delivered the final blow as a cross from the right provided a tap in for substitute Conor McMenamin and any hopes Ards might have had of repeating last year’s run to the final came crashing down.

12th October 2016


18 Aaron Hogg (GK), 21 Callum Byers, 5 Johnny Taylor, 4 Stuart McMullan, 3 Michael Ruddy, 8 Ross Arthurs, 16 Gareth Tommons, 12 Jordan Hughes, 10 Joe McKinney, 17 Carl McComb, 19 Guillaume Keke


7 Craig McMillen (for Arthurs 56), 9 Gary Liggett (for McComb 75), 11 David McAllister (for Hughes h/t), 14 Fra Brennan, 22 Jamie Rea


Evan Boyce


Keke (74, 104)

Sponsor’s man of the match

Johnny Taylor