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Danske Bank Premiership

Linfield 4 Ards 0

A fast start from Linfield had us two down within the opening 12 minutes as we succumbed to our biggest defeat of the season.

The long search for an Ards victory on Linfield’s home patch continued as a near flawless display from the Blues had us swept away by the time the first half was over with the Linfield goal scarcely under threat at any point in the afternoon.

It took just eight minutes for the opening goal to arrive as Ards failed to properly clear their lines, allowing Stephen Lowry to play in Aaron Burns and he found the back of the net from around the 18 yard line.

Linfield’s threat was demonstrated again in the 10th minute when Paul Smyth found Burns at the back post but the striker was flagged up for offside as he tapped the ball in. There was no such reprieve for Ards two minutes later when the Blues did double their lead. Ards were asleep as Smyth mounted a counter attack on the right before pulling the ball back to the penalty spot for Lowry to take a touch and fire past Aaron Hogg.

The game was finished as a contest with just 33 minutes gone when Linfield opened Ards up again to score their third goal. A long ball out from the back made its way via Smyth to Chris Casement and he picked out Kirk Millar who had the beating of Hogg from just inside the penalty box.

As Ards struggled to hold the ball up at the other end, there was little respite for their weary defence and the 39th minute almost saw a fourth goal added. Millar launched the attack from the right side, turning inside full back Ruddy before forcing Hogg into a point blank save. From an ensuing corner Linfield went close again when Mark Stafford crashed a header against the crossbar.

The second half began with much the same as Linfield did stretch their lead to 4-0 with 58 minutes gone. Smyth’s ball up the left flank found Ross Gaynor, who looked to pick out a team mate in the box, only for Ards captain Emmet Friars to slice the cross into his own net and compound the misery for the visitors.

With the three points well in the bag, Linfield’s pressing eased off significantly and Ards almost got on the scoresheet themselves with 62 minutes played. A clearance out of the Ards defence skirted along the left hand touchline and as two Linfield players failed to intervene Guillaume Keke raced away from about the halfway line, closing in the Linfield goal before hitting a shot off the outside of the near upright.

That was as good as it would get for Ards, who failed to trouble Blues keeper Roy Carroll for the remainder of the day, with the display put down as the most disappointing of the season by manager Niall Currie in his post match interview.

24th September 2016


18 Aaron Hogg (GK), 2 Greg Hall, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 21 Callum Byers, 3 Michael Ruddy, 6 David McCullough, 8 Ross Arthurs, 16 Gareth Tommons, 10 Joe McKinney, 19 Guillaume Keke, 22 Jamie Rea


4 Stuart McMullan, 9 Gary Liggett (for Keke 72), 11 David McAllister (for Rea h/t), 12 Jordan Hughes, 17 Carl McComb (for Arthurs 65)


Tim Marshall


Friars (81)




Match highlights (BBC Sport NI)