The first top of the table clash for us was against Loughside at Dairyhall & this had all the makes of a very tight match and that's how it panned out.
We started very brightly and within the first thirty seconds could have been one up but the Loughside keeper pulled of a good save from Ryan Hannah. Loughside sent a high ball up and as Matthew Guest seemed to have the situation under control as he was about to head the ball back to Jai Sykes only for Jai to be race out to meet the ball and Matthews header went past him and the Loughside striker had a tap in, 0:1. Five minutes later and we were unlucky not to get the equalizer when Ryan Hannah's attempt came back of the crossbar but in the 8th minute we did equalise when Matthew Guest sent over the corner and Jack Patterson met it at the back post to head it into the net, 1:1. Thinks were looking well as the boys were up for it and playing good football but again we went to sleep in the 14th minute and Loughside took the lead again, 1:2. The boys kept there heads up and how we didn't go in all square at half time beats me. in the 22nd minute came probably the most controversial moment in the match when we scored two good goals in the space of a minute only for the referee to disallow both for offside and i must say he got both wrong. The first came from Ryan Hannah when the ball was sent over and from 20 yards out Ryan met it on the half volley and it sailed in to the net, then 30 seconds later his brother Stuart did exactly the same on the edge of the box sending his volley high into the top of the net and again the ref blew for of side definitely the wrong call both times but thems the brakes. We kept the pressure on Loughside and we were awarded a free kick in the 27th minute 20 yards out, Reece Atkinson stepped up to take it only for him to see his effort hit the post. Four minutes later against the run of play Loughside created a chance but they're effort came of the crossbar. A minute later and Jack Patterson collected the ball on the right danced into the box and hit a sweet shot that had the keeper beat but his shot came back of the post. Then a minute from half time saw Matthew Guest hit the post the ball seemed to travel along the goalline and eventually cleared of the line by Loughside as the boys were appealing for the goal as they though it had crossed over the line but again we didn't get the decision.
HALF TIME: 1.2
The half time team talk was simple keep doing what your doing as we were playing great football and were by far the better team but we need to put the ball in the net.
We kicked off the second half as we did the first taking the game to Loughside but in the 12th minute we fell further behind when the ball came of Joel Hill and into his own net, 1:3. The boys did not deserve this but the kept their heads up and kept playing the good football. We were still working hard and creating chances but we had to be aware that Loughside were good on the counter attacks. In the 65th minute we got a goal back when Matthew Guest had pushed forward skipped into the box and was brought down inside the area and the Referee awarded the penalty, up step our Captain Reece Atkinson who has 100% record with penalties and he didn't disappoint as he slotted the penalty into the back of the net with the keeper getting a finger to it but the shot was to powerful, 2:3 game on. It was time to through cause into the wind as we went with a back three and an extra striker up front to try and get something out of the game as we deserved it. As we approached the final whistle the referee indicated there would be six minutes of added time due to time wasting, so it was time to go for broke and go with a back two. We got a corner in the third minute of added time,Matthew Guest sent it over and it was met by Jack Patterson with a powerful header goal bound only for it to hit one of his own players on the goalline and Loughside cleared at the expense of another corner. Matthew sent it over again and again Jack was up with another header this time cleared off the line by the Loughside defender and from that with everyone pushed forward we were hit with the sucker punch as Loughside thumped the ball up and the striker went through to score, 2:4 this knocked the stuffing out of the boys who were by far the better team. The in the last minute Loughside grabbed another as the boys had switched off.
FULL TIME: 2.5
Super effort boys and there was know doubt we played the better football we just didn't get the breaks. Lets take this performance into the cup match on Monday night and prove we can beat the premier teams. RABA
Ben Dempster (Player)
Unlucky today Ards we were the better team for the majority of the match just didn't get the result to show it.