Home league match played on 29 January 2011.
Kicked off at 12:00 AM
MATCH 14 : An early Kick of seen us on our travels at 8am heading to Billy Neills for a 9am Kick Off against Cliftonville.
The last game against them was at Victoria Park where we won 4 : 2 after a hard fought match so we knew we had another touch match on our hands.
With a much depleted squad we had only three subs with us, Brandon McFerran who has been ever present at right back in a very steady defence was out due to a knee problem and could be out for another three weeks. But Kurtis Barkley came in and had an outstanding game at right back.
The first ten minutes saw both team size each other up and very few chances arose but we drew first blood in the 13th minute when Noah Crenshaw set up Stuart Graham who easily found the back of the net to put us 1 : 0 ahead. Both teams kept probing but Cliftonville found it hard to break down our defensive four of Marcus Baron, Reece Atkinson, Jack Hare & Kurtis Barkley. Reece and Jack in central defence have built up a great partnership and know each other so well that their team mates have ever faith in them and when there was a ball getting through Jai Sykes in the Ards goal was more than a match for anything that came his way with great handling. We grabbed our second in the 23rd minute when Marcus Baron went on a run down the left wing sent in a cross towards Noah Crenshaw and as the Cliftonville keeper came out Noah cleverly flicked the ball with his head past the oncoming keeper into the net to make it 2 : 0. Then a minute player Jack Hare got the ball outside his own box and decided to go on a run as he skipped through the Cliftonville midfield he then threaded a superb passed through to Andrew Graham who went on to score number three and that put us 3 : 0 up at half time.
The second half was always going to be tough but we knew that Cliftonville would have a go as they changed their formation and right from the start we were on the defensive. Six minutes into the second half Cliftonville broke into our box and as the skipped past our defender he was tripped and the referee had no choice but to award a penalty. Step up Jai Sykes, who pulled of a wonder save down to is right hand post which he got both hands to and his defence was quick to react to the rebound and clear their box. This gave his team mates the lift they needed and they grew in strength. Jack Patterson came off the bench to replace Matthew Cunningham on the right wing and made an instant impact with his speed and skill saw him dart down the right and his shot went just over the crossbar, five minutes later he was at it again this time his cross was met by Andrew Graham but his shot was saved by the keeper. Stuart Hannah came on for his brother Ryan who had worked his socks off in midfield like a true Captain should and as he came of handed his little brother his Captains Band. Cliftonville did get a goal all be it controversial as it was definitely offside but the referee though otherwise and gave them the goal with only eight minutes left on the clock. Christopher Duncan came on for Kurtis Barkley who had a great game at right back, so with a slight shuffle Stuart Graham filled in at right back and Christopher went into midfield. The heading is twin engines, yes you probably worked it out by now Stuart & Andrew Graham who have worked extremely hard throughout the match and deservedly got a goal each and tackled well and hard, well done boys keep it going.
Finally I would just like to say this team throughout the season have grown stronger ever week and its and absolute joy for myself, Gordon and Robbie to coach then, keep it going boys.