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Danske Bank Premiership
Ards 0 Crusaders 1
MATCH SPONSOR: MR ALEX GIBSON
Jordan Owens’ injury time header snatched all three points for the league leaders,
breaking brave Ards hearts at the very death.
Seconds from the full time whistle Owens put his head to a Paul Heatley cross, sending
the ball over Aaron Hogg and securing the points that would allow the Crues to open
up a four point gap at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.
Injury concerns to key players had dominated the build up to this game, but Ards
were able to restore their first choice defence as Emmet Friars, Johnny Taylor and
Michael Ruddy all returned to the starting line-up, as did Craig McMillen and Joe
Early on Crusaders would make keeper Hogg work when a free kick from Michael Carville
was pumped into the box and after a knock down, Colin Coates saw his shot blocked
by the legs of Hogg. The keeper did well again not long after when a shot on the
turn from Paul Heatley around the 18 yard line was well stopped by Hogg with a dive
to his right.
At the other end a free kick into the Crusaders area from Kyle Cherry found the head
of Ards skipper Friars and he forced Sean O’Neill into a flying save, at the expense
of a corner.
The opening half would end up scoreless but after the break Crusaders were given
an early boost when Ards were reduced to ten men. Gareth Tommons had only just come
onto the field as a substitute on 57 minutes before he slid carelessly into Declan
Caddell two minutes later and ref Steven Taylor felt he had no option but to produce
the red card.
Buoyed by the dismissal, Crusaders upped their game and Hogg was required to deny
the visitors again when he saved a close range volley from David Cushley.
With 70 minutes gone the sides would be evened up when Crusaders were reduced to
ten men. Cushley, who himself had not long been on the field, was the player receiving
his marching orders when he took the standing leg of Ards’ Joe McKinney after losing
control of the ball and he too saw a flash of the referee’s red card.
Ards’ best chance of grabbing the lead came from a Cherry corner late on that found
the head of Johnny Taylor but his effort flew narrowly wide of the far upright.
Then came the harsh reality for Ards as Crusaders hit us with a killer blow in the
third minute of injury time. It was play maker Heatley who supplied the ball into
the box, chipping it onto the head of Owens, and he directed it over Hogg who, a
yard or two off his line, was helpless to keep it out.
3rd September 2016
18 Aaron Hogg, 2 Greg Hall, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 5 Johnny Taylor, 3 Michael Ruddy,
6 David McCullough, 20 Kyle Cherry, 7 Craig McMillen, 10 Joe McKinney, 11 David McAllister,
19 Guillaume Keke
4 Stuart McMullan, 8 Ross Arthurs (for McMillen 65), 16 Gareth Tommons (for McAllister
57), 17 Carl McComb (for Keke 83), 21 Callum Byers