Match Report: Ards 0-1 Carrick
By Jana McCabe.
With the Carrick team featuring a number of familiar faces both on and off the pitch, Ards looked to progress to the sixth round of the Irish Cup. One of two new signings made the starting eleven with Brendan Bennett getting his first game in the red and blue of Ards.
In the eighth minute a powerful freekick from Kym Nelson was well palmed away by ex-Ards ‘keeper Aaron Hogg with the rebound falling at the feet of Mark Kelly but his strike was wide of the left hand post.
Craig McMillen’s curling shot from outside the box was then well saved by Sam Johnston in the twelfth minute. Ex Ards-captain McMillen was in action again when his pass gave Lloyd Anderson a good chance but his volley was over the bar in the nineteenth minute.
However, in the twenty first minute, Carrick took the lead when Caolan Loughran’s freekick was initially saved by Johnston, but the rebound fell to Gerard Kelly who cooly slid the ball into the back of the net to make it 0-1.
A cross from Carrick’s Stuart Nixon found Michael Smith but his header was well saved by Sam Johnston in the twenty fifth minute.
Nelson’s freekick was wide of the right hand post in the thirty ninth minute as Ards looked to get a goal back before the end of the half. In first half injury time Josh Kelly’s pass to debutant Brendan Bennett saw his shot blocked by stopper Hogg and the half ended 0-1.
In the opening stages of the second half Carrick’s captain Mark Surgenor handled the ball in the box with the referee awarding Ards a penalty. Nelson stepped up to take the spot kick but his shot was wide of the right hand post to the disappointment of the Red And Blue Army.
Michael Kerr’s strike from a Bennett pass was wide of the right hand post in the sixty ninth minute before, in the seventy fifth minute, Loughran’s freekick was just off target as Carrick looked for a second.
In the eighty second minute Nelson’s shot from outside the box was palmed away by Hogg as Ards looked for a late equaliser. In the closing stages of the game a turn and shot from Gareth Tommons was well saved and, at the other end, Nixon’s strong strike made Johnston produce a great save. The game ended 0-1.
More disappointment for Ards who don’t make it through to the sixth round of the Irish Cup. Attentions now turn to next Saturday when Ards face Cliftonville at Solitude.
Starting eleven- Sam Johnston, Michael Kerr, Adam McAleenan, Callum Byers, Craig McClean, Gareth Tommons, Josh Kelly, Kym Nelson, Eamon McAllister, Brendan Bennett and Mark Kelly.
Used substitutes: Aaron Boyd, Michael McLellan and David McAllister.
Unused substitutes: Adam Brown, Matthew Davidson, Jonah Heron and Jourdan Shearer.