Finally a home fixture but yes you guessed it we still travelled to Billy Neills.
We arrived at Billy Neills for a 11am K.O. but were not allowed a changing room till 10.40am this is ridicules as by the time we were arriving on the pitch it was 5 minutes to kick off.
We did not start well and to be quiet honest we were looking very slow to react to Aquinas who were showing a quick tempo. We did come close in the 19th minute when Reece Atkinson sent over a corner that the Aquinas defence failed to clear it fell to Travis Jamison who cracked his shot of the crossbar. Two minutes later and Aquinas were reduced to 10 men when the Referee showed their No. 8 a straight red card. Aquinas regrouped and were certainly making life hard for us. In the 24th minute a 30 yard long range effort from Jack Patterson saw the Aquinas keeper pull off a great save to turn it over his crossbar for a corner. From the resulting corner saw Brandon McFerran get the head to it only for Aquinas to clear it off the goal line. We were struggling to get a grip of midfield as Aquinas were pressing hard giving us little time on the ball and our passing was shocking. In the 29th minute Rory Nelson hit a long range effort from out on the right which just fizzed over the crossbar. Then came the sucker punch a minute later when Aquinas took the lead when we failed to clear our lines; 0 : 1 Aquinas.
HALF TIME; 0 : 1
Half time team talk was blunt and straight to the point, simply not good enough and we need to step up in the second half.
Three minutes in and we were unlucky not to get the equaliser when Rory Nelson sent over a long throw in to the box that Jack Patterson flicked on and Ryan Hannah's header went just over the crossbar. We were now starting to put pressure on the Aquinas defence. In the 51st minute Ryan Hannah was brought down on the edge of the box and the Referee blew for the free kick, Reece Atkinson stepped up to put the ball over the wall and in to the net; 1 : 1 game on. Five minutes later and we took the lead, Reece Atkinson sent over a corner which was half cleared by Aquinas the ball fell to Rory Nelson who hit a fierce shot on target and the keeper pulled off a good save but the rebound fell to Jack Patterson who hammer it in to the back of the net; 2 : 1 Ards. We now seemed to be in control all be it we were still giving the ball away to cheaply. In the 66th minute it looked like we had got our third goal when Rory Nelson was through one on one with the keeper, as the keeper came rushing out Rory chipped him but it went just wide of goal. Three minutes later it was Rory again but his attempt came back off the crossbar. Then in the 70th minute came a decision that would clearly effect the result as Joel Hill went through one on one with the keeper, the keeper came diving out at his feet but was nowhere near the ball and the result was that he brought Joel tumbling down in the box but to our amazement the Referee wave away the penalty claims, a shocking decision as the Referee up to this point had done really well. In the 72nd minute we came close again through Curtis Higgins who's shot went just over the crossbar. With only 5 minutes of normal time remaining a lapse in concentration at the back allowed Aquinas to grab an equaliser; 2 : 2 all square. Then a minute in to the 2 additional minutes saw Brandon McFerran shown a straight red card and both teams finished the match with 10 men.
FULL TIME; 2 : 2
A well below par performance from our boys, we did lift it slightly in the second half but you all know that you can play 100% better. Overall Aquinas battled hard with 10 men and deserved to get something from the match. We need to finish teams off as we had plenty of opportunities during this match and we need to defend stronger as well.