After a long wait we finally got our N.I.B.F.A. 1st Round Cup match played thanks to the use of the Bangor fuels Arena’s 3G pitch.
With frost having a big part in matches being called off this weekend again we were one of the lucky ones to get our match played, it didn’t go with a hit as Foyle Harps from Londonderry were have snow blizzard’s but they did manage to get through and it was game on.
We knew this would be a tough test for ur boys up against a National League “A” Division side but our boys were well up for it. Both teams started brightly and there were chances a both ends in the first 15 mins. but we seemed to be cancelling each other out. Then came the turning point for Ards when we were awarded a free kick 25 Yards out, Reece Atkinson hit it over the wall and the keeper saw it late but pulled of a fantastic save on his goal line. The boys seemed to take encouragement from this and finished the half strongly. As Stuart Hannahskipped down the left wing he cut inside and split the defence with a pass to his brother Ryan but the ball got caught up in his feet and he couldn’t get the shot away. Then Travis Jamison saw his effort go just wide off the post and on the stroke of half time Rory Nelson’s shot was well saved by the keeper.
HALF TIME; 0 : 0
Half time team talk was simple keep doing what you’re doing and you can win this match.
We started the second half on fire and within a minute we got the break through, Reece Atkinsongathered the ball out on the left he sent over a cross just outside the box which was met on the half volley by Rory Nelson and it sailed past the goal keeper into his bottom right hand corner; 1 : 0 Ards. The boys were playing a great game of football and all working well together the back four Brandon, Jack, and the two Jordan’s were solid with Jai handling everything coming his way. Rory on the right wing & Stuart on the left wing were causing the Harps all sorts of problems and the attack midfielders of Noah & Reece were moving and passing the ball well. Travis played in that holding midfield role and tackled strongly and his distribution of the ball was excellent and Ryan the lone striker buzzed about keeping the central defenders on their toes. In the 42nd minute the Harps manage to find the equaliser when the ball came of one of our players and was heading out for a corner Jai managed to get to it but it slipped from is grasp and the Harps striker was on hand to score; 1 : 1. This seemed to deflate the boys for the next 10 mins and the Harps were now pushing for a winner but some excellent saves from Jai Sykes and some brilliant defending from our back four kept them out. We kept plodding away as we lifted our game again for the last 10 mins but it was looking like a penalty shootout was going to decide this match when in the last minute a big clearance from the Harps defender saw the ball go over the heads of our defence the harps striker latched on to it and his shot struck the post but his striking partner was on hand to score the rebound; 1 : 2 Harps.
FULL TIME; 1 : 2
I would just like to thank all my Ards boys for an outstanding performance from you all we certainly could have easily one this match as we were right in it right to the very end, I am so proud of you all.
Also well done to Ex Ards player Harry McCourt (who is the Foyle Harps manager) and is boys and good luck in the next round. This was a good game of football played in a sporting manner and thanks to Sportzone and Bangor F.C. for the use of the pitch.