Finally we find ourselves at home in the Westwinds hosting Bryansburn Rangers with an early kick off of 9.15am.
With heavy rain the night before the ground was quiet soft but it was a nice dry fresh morning. Before we even got out for the warm up there was a problem when ever present goalkeeper Jai Sykes was missing, so it was a total reshuffle at the back with normal centre half Jack Patterson going in goals, this now meant Jack is the only player to play in every position for our team ( Thanks Jack ). This meant normal left back Jordan Mulholland would move in to centre back and Ryan McKittrick would play at left back.
Little did we know but the boys were just about to put on a show for the team and they hit the ground running right from the start. In the fifth minute we came close to taking the lead when some nice football seen Reece Atkinson pick out Rory Nelson on the right, he danced his way into the Bryansburn box a his shot went just over the crossbar. Two minutes later and Rory was at it again on the right wing as he hit the byeline sent over the ball which Ryan Hannah got on the end of but his shot went just wide. Again in the 9th minute Rory was down the right sent over a cross and an acrobatic over head kick from Noah Crenshaw flew into the net ( goal of the season ); 1 : 0 Ards. Ards were in menacing form and Bryansburn were finding it tough to contend with our attacking force. In the 13th minute we came close to doubling our lead when Reece Atkinson hit one from 25 Yards out and it just lifted over the crossbar. Our second goal was coming and it did in the 20th minute when defending a corner the ball fell to Noah Crenshaw on the edge of our box, he sent a long ball over the Bryansburn defence and as the Bryansburn keeper rushed out to meet it Rory Nelson dashed in to head the ball over him and into the net; 2 : 0 Ards. The boys seemed to be in control but a lapse in concentration in the 29th minute gave Bryansburn a life line when we failed to closed down the Bryansburn midfielder 22 yards out he hit a shot which Jack seemed to be blind to it and it went into the net; 2 : 1 Ards. This didn't deter the boys as the went on the attack again straight away, again it was Rory Nelson this time working down the left wing he swung over the ball and Stuart Hannah met it in the box but the bounce of the ball seemed to catch Stuart as he scuffed his shot well wide. Then in the last minute of the first half some excellent passing football from Travis Jamison, Reece Atkinson And Noah Crenshaw set up Rory Nelson who struck his shot well but the Bryansburn keeper pulled of an excellent save and that brought the Referees whistle for half time. HALF TIME; 2 : 1 ARDS
Half time team talk was simple more of the same as the boys were played great football and defensively brilliant.
Second half got under way and we were straight into it and one minute in and we should have had number three when the ball fell to Travis Jamison inside the Bryansburn box but Travis rushed his shot and it went wide. The sucker punch came two minutes later when Bryansburn earned themselves a corner, as the corner came in Jack Patterson got a good punch on the ball but we failed to close down the ball inside the box and the Bryansburn player found the back off the net; 2 : 2 all square. Most teams would have wallowed in loosing a two goal lead but not our boys as they kicked off at went straight after the Bryansburn goal and within a minute of being pegged back we were back in front. Travis Jamison found Rory Nelson out on the right and Rory smashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net to grab his second of the match; 3 : 2 Ards. A minute later and the two goal lead was restored, again Rory Nelson was at the heart of it as he raced down the right sending in a low ball into the box which saw Ryan Hannah slide in with the keeper to put the ball in the net; 4 : 2 Ards. What a reaction from these boys two goals in a minute of being pegged back. Ards were looking hungry and we got our 5th goal in the 57th minute when Reece Atkinson sent over a cross from the right to the far post and Ryan Hannah came in at the back to head the ball into the net to grab his second of the match; 5 : 2 Ards. Jack Patterson had a fairly comfortable time in goals but in the 58th minute Bryansburn broke through but Jack was up for the Challenge and pulled of an excellent save. In the 60th minute we came close to getting our sixth goal when Ryan Hannah now playing on the left found his brother in the box but Stuart's shot was well saved by the Bryansburn keeper. Then in 61st minute we had the ball in the net again as Rory Nelson sent over a cross that Noah Crenshaw headed into the net but the Referee judge him to be offside it was a tight decision. In the 71st minute Ryan Hannah came close to grabbing his hat-trick but his shot went just over the crossbar. FULL TIME; 5 : 2 ARDS
A very proud Manager today boys as you all played superb and fought and played for each other. A big well done to Jack Patterson who was thrown into nets & Noah Crenshaw who gave a Captains performance. From back to front boys you were amazing. A superb man of the match performance from Rory Nelson who torchered Bryansburn all day with his speed and ability.
Karen Hannah: Well done Ards FC Academyninetyeights 5-2 win against Bryansburn another 3 pts. in the bag RABA
Roberta Atkinson: Nice we 5.2 win today for Ards FC Academyninetyeights
Susan McMullan: Ah brilliant one well done boys