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Danske Bank Premiership

Ballinamallard United 2 Ards 1

Despite Joe McKinney’s goal, a slow start condemned us to defeat at Ferney Park on Friday night.

A goal after just seventy seconds from the home side had caught Ards napping and when Ballinamallard doubled their lead on 36 minutes, it looked a long way back for the travelling Ards team. McKinney’s goal did give some hope, but Ards failed to find the equaliser in the second half as the Mallards picked up three points for the second week running.

Ards had played their own part in the game’s opening goal, when from a poorly executed free kick at the opposite end Ballinamallard mounted a swift breakaway. Ryan Mayse’ dart up the right flank allowed him to deliver a ball to the far side of the area, where United’s captain James McKenna was composed enough to pick his spot and find the net, despite the goal line efforts of defender Greg Hall.

It was far from the start that Niall Currie would have liked to see from his team, but Ards did respond well and on ten minutes decent play between early substitute Ross Arthurs and Jamie Douglas ended with the latter shooting over the bar. On 24 minutes Ards had the ball in the net when Michael Ruddy fired in past Stefan McCuster, but the acres of space he was in was quickly explained by the raising of the linesman’s flag.

On the half hour some frantic play in the Ballinamallard box saw two or three opportunities for Ards to score but neither Carl McComb, Davy McCullough or Douglas could find a way past some last ditch defending.

The Mallard’s second goal came six minutes later and a cracking strike it was too. A cross into the Ards box was deflected out of the area, landing some 25 yards out on the boot of Ryan Morris, who smashed a first time volley past the beaten Aaron Hogg.

Within two minutes, Ards had hope though through McKinney’s third goal of the season. Put through on the right side of the box, McKinney raced clear of a defender to fire low past McCuster.

The second half proved a very even encounter with chances for both sides, but neither team able to provide anything clinical. Ballinamallard fired the opening salvo, when on 55 minutes Shane McGinty turned defender Ruddy before releasing a low snap shot that ran just wide.

At the other end, probably Ards’ best chance of the second period fell for Guillaume Keke with 66 minutes gone. McCullough’s through pass from midfield had put the forward away, and after declining the chance to lob McCuster, the keeper did well to block the power shot with his body.

Ballinamallard had further chances, first from Johnny Lafferty on 73’ when his deflected shot from distance forced Hogg into a save and then a sharp breakaway a few minutes later saw Mayse clear on the right hand side but he wasted the opportunity by firing well over.

Ards’ last good chance came from a Jordan Hughes corner that saw Stuart McMullan’s header kicked away from practically on the goal line, allowing the Mallards to hang on for a valuable three points.

16th September 2016


18 Aaron Hogg (GK), 2 Greg Hall, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 4 Stuart McMullan, 3 Michael Ruddy, 6 David McCullough, 20 Kyle Cherry, 40 Jamie Douglas, 10 Joe McKinney, 17 Carl McComb, 19 Guillaume Keke


1 Liam McAuley (GK), 7 Jamie Rea (for Ruddy 81), 8 Ross Arthurs (for Cherry 6), 12 Jordan Hughes (for Douglas h/t), 21 Callum Byers


Ross Dunlop


McCullough (45+3), Rea (83)




Match highlights (BBC Sport NI)

Joe McKinney scored our only goal of the night
Picture: Gareth McCluskey