We travelled to Loughmoss for a very early kick off at 9.30am on a very damp and wet morning to play a very good Carryduff side.
Carryduff were always going to be tough opponents as they were very unlucky not to be premier Champions last season only losing out in a playoff.
So the boys were well aware they would need to be on their game to get a result from this match. With Jai Sykes back in nets we were back to our regular back four of Brandon, Jack, Jordan B. & Jordan M. and these four boys would have their best game together to date. We started very brightly and took the game to Carryduff right away. In the 10th minute with some good passing in midfield Rory Nelson found himself through on goal but the Carryduff keeper managed to get out sharply to put pressure on Rory and he put his effort just over the crossbar. A minute later and we had another chance to take the lead when Noah Crenshaw found Ryan Hannah on the edge of the box but Ryan's shot was well saved by the Carryduff keeper. We did eventually take the lead in the 14th minute with a superb strike from Rory Nelson, again coming from some nice play in midfield Ryan Hannah played it wide to the right wing to Rory who from 25 yards out hit a wonder strike into the top left hand corner of the net to make it; 0 : 1 Ards. Our lead was short lived as Carryduff got the equaliser three minutes later and again as like ours, it was a wonderful goal from 25 yards out giving Jai Sykes no chance; 1 : 1. Both teams were playing some great football and this was looking like it was going to be end to end. Carryduff hit the crossbar in the 22nd minute but the Ards defence coped well with the rebound. Our next chance came three minutes from half time when Rory Nelson hit a shot from the edge of the box but was well saved by the Carryduff keeper. Then a minute later and Carryduff would take the lead, as the Referee awarded a free kick on the edge of our box, Jai set his wall up but another super strike from the free kick into the top corner again gave Jai no chance; 2 : 1 Carryduff. HALF TIME; 2 : 1
This was a good first half of football from two good teams who came to play football and we would have to play as well in the second half to try and get a win.
Ards hit the pitch running and within a minute of the restart we were level again another superb pass & strike, Reece Atkinson gathered the ball in midfield looked up and sent a super through ball with the outside of his foot in to the Carryduff box which Rory Nelson with his pace go on to and sent a thunderous shot in to the net giving the Carryduff keeper no chance; 2 : 2 game on. As the first half this was end to end but both defences were pretty solid and keepers playing their part to. We almost took the lead in the 56th minute when Stuart Hannah got the ball on the left wing found his way to the edge of the box turned the defender and sent over a cross that Rory Nelson got the head on to but it went just wide of the post. A minute later and we were awarded a free kick 22 yards out on the right, Reece Atkinson sent it over and Jack Patterson up from the back manage to get a head on it but it was straight at the keeper who held it comfortably. Ards were certainly in this match for the long hall and were having a good go at getting a win out of it. In the 59th minute we created another chance with some fine passing from Noah Crenshaw, Travis Jamison & Reece Atkinson in the midfield they got the ball out right to Rory Nelson who sent over a low cross that Ryan Hannah knock into the path of Travis Jamison but his shot went wide. Then in the 66th minute came the break through again another good goal, Rory Nelson gathered the ball in the right side of midfield looked up and saw Stuart Hannah free on the left he sent an invite ball through and you would have thought the Carryduff defender was favourite to get to it but Stuart's shear pace saw him get to the ball first and as he went one on one with the keeper the keeper came diving out got a touch on his shot but it was to powerful and hit the back of the net; 2 : 3 Ards. We were playing well but the one lapse of concentration in the match saw Carryduff get the equaliser, it all came from the corner that we cleared out of the box but as the ball was sent back over we had all drifted in leaving a Carryduff player free at the back post and he made no mistake in putting it in the net; 3 : 3 what a match. Fair play to my boys they kept pushing for that winning goal and In the 74th minute another cross from the Right from Rory Nelson was met by Ryan Hannah but he couldn't get enough power on his shot and the keeper had a comfortable save. Then in the 76th minute Noah Crenshaw hit one from the edge of the box but the keeper was there again to save it. FULL TIME; 3 : 3
A fair result in an evenly contested match with both teams playing excellent football and some smashing goals. Well done boys you made us all proud keep up the good work.
Also thank you to Paul and his Carryduff team for a great match and we wish the all the best for the remainder of the season.