Match Report: Ards 1-3 Coleraine
Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 17th March
By Jana McCabe.
As the snow threatened to make a comeback at the Bangor Fuels Arena, Ards took on championship-chasers Coleraine without the services of the injured Davids, McAllister and Elebert.
Ards got off to a bad start with Coleraine taking the lead after only 5 minutes when Gareth McConaghie beat Callum Byers to the ball and, as Sam Johnston rushed off his line, he calmly beat Johnston to give the away side the lead.
Things didn’t get any better for the home side as, in the 9th minute, Coleraine doubled their advantage when a lovely through ball from Lyndon Kane to Martin Smith then found Brad Lyons who, despite Michael Ruddy’s attempt to clear the danger, slotted the ball in to the bottom left-hand corner of Johnston’s goal.
Ards did press to get back in to the game when Gareth Tommons’ initial acrobatic effort came to nothing, but he then found Guillaume Keke whose shot crashed off the post in the 11th minute.
In the 14th minute, Ards did pull one back when Ross Clarke’s beautiful strike from a free kick just outside the box easily beat Chris Johns in the Coleraine goal to make it 2-1.
Coleraine nearly restored their 2-goal advantage shortly afterwards but Lyons just failed to find the target for his second goal of the afternoon, before Keke’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Johns in the 27th minute.
Reece Glendinning then kept up the pressure as he regained possession following an Ards corner, but he failed to hit the target, so the first half ended at 2-1 for the away side.
Early in the second half Ards made a change with Jonny Frazer leaving the field to be replaced by Jonah Mitchell. Johnston then superbly saved Ian Parkhill’s effort before Tommons was replaced by Josh Kelly.
Then in the 73rd minute McConaghie was fouled on the edge of the box by Johnny Taylor with the referee pointing to the spot to the surprise of Ards supporters, and even some away fans. McConaghie made no mistake from the spot to again take his side 2 goals clear at 3-1. Taylor was booked for his continuing protest at the decision, with Kyle Cherry then also picking up a caution shortly afterwards.
Jonah Mitchell’s shot was saved by Johns in the 80th minute, before Keke was replaced by Michael McLellan. Mitchell then had another chance when Glendinning’s pass found him, but again failed to test Johns in the Coleraine goal.
So a 3-1 victory for the away side, with Ards facing Cliftonville on Friday evening, in the last game before the league splits.
Match Sponsors Swift Foods choose Kyle Cherry as the Ards Man Of The Match.
He was presented with his award by Sam Magill on behalf of the sponsor.
Sam Johnston, Reece Glendinning, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor, Michael Ruddy, Ross Clarke, Gareth Tommons, Kyle Cherry, Jonny Frazer, Cameron Stewart, Guillaume Keke
Subs: Jonah Mitchell (for Jonny Frazer), Josh Kelly (for Gareth Tommons) & Michael McLellan (for Guillaume Keke). Unused: Scott Davidson & Luke Kelly