The Bravehearts headed to Blanchflower to take on Shankill Utd. And with a gutsy performances to win the match they went to the top of the Premier Division.
We arrived at Blanchflower Stadium knowing a win today would see us go top of the league so the boys knew what they had to do. Rhys Mackie was back at Ards and started the match as Noah Crenshaw was not fully fit after recovering from a calf strain. Five minutes in Jack Patterson found Rhys Mackie with a through ball as Rhys went one on one with the goal keeper hit his shot straight at the keeper five minutes later we had a corner as the corner was cleared we put it back in and Rhys Mackie met it at the far post only to see his effort go just over. We were still not in full flow and were slow to close down Shankill and against the run of play Shankill took the lead when the ball broke to their striker in the box and he tuck it past Jai to go 0 : 1 up. Their lead only lasted four minutes, when Rhys Mackie’s perseverance final got him a goal in his debut, this time the provider was Reece Atkinson as he threaded a lovely pass through to Rhys who again went through one on one with the keeper and made sure this time the ball was going into the back of the net 1 : 1 game on. This goal spurred the boys to lift their game and two minutes later took the lead, Reece Atkinson again became the provider as he slipped a square ball into the path of Matthew Guests path and from 25 yards out he did what he normally does and smashed his shot low passed the keeper to put us 2 : 1 up. Two minutes later it was 3 : 1, this time it was route one when Jai Sykes kicked a long ball into the middle of the Shankill half the defender miss judged the bounce of the ball as it went over his head Jack Patterson was onto it like a flash and buried it into the back of the net. Two minutes from half time Jack Patterson was on the score sheet again when Matthew Guest set him up and Jack does what he does best and puts the ball in the back of the net to make it 4 : 1, he should have had his hat-trick right on the stroke of half time we he raced down the right wing round the defender and from the cutest of angles saw his shot hit the crossbar.
HALF-TIME: 4 . 1
The second half got under way with the boys knowing they were in control of the match but as the half went on they took the foot of the gas. Noah Crenshaw came on as a sub five minutes into the second half for Marcus Baron who had done well on the left wing. Noah was just on the pitch seven minutes and he had the ball in the net, Stuart Graham found himself in the box and as his shot came of the defender Noah was there to smash the rebound into the net to make it 5 : 1. Then in the 53rd minute of the match came a goal which is definitely in contention for goal of the season, Matthew Guest sent over a corner which the Shankill defence cleared Noah Crenshaw on the edge of the box brought the ball down on his chest, trapped it and then lashed a ferocious shot into the top left hand corner of the net to make it 6 : 1. Matthew Cunningham came on for the ever hard working Stuart Graham and he was unfortunate not to be on the score sheet when he race down the right wing past three Shankill players only to see his shot hit the side netting. Bradley Clarke came on for double goal scorer Jack Patterson who after a few quieter games was back playing good football and torturing defences with his pace. Dee Thompson came on for Andrew Graham who was excellent at left back even though we conceded a late goal to make the final score 6 : 2 our defence handled Shankill well, the centre pairing of Jack Hare & Bradley McCourt had their work cut out with a very large strong striker but to be honest they had him in their back pocket for the bulk of the match and when it was time to let him know he wasn’t getting through well Brandon McFerran put in a super tackle that effectively sent out a message of “ Do not pass go” and anything over the top Jai Sykes had them all day long as he was off his line sharp every time.
Man of the Match went to Reece Atkinson who put in a superb shift closing down, tackling and his passing was excellent to set up two of the goals.
FULL TIME: 6 . 2
Well done boys not our most polished performance but you’s got stuck in and battle your way through to get the result to take you to the top of the League for the first time this season. We just need to step it up a bit and get back to playing the good slick football we were playing before the Christmas break.
Finally I would like to welcome Rhys Mackie back to Ards Youth and to the team he started with well done today keep it going.
Well done boys!!!!
Didn't play the football uz where playing before Christmas but 75% was enough to score 6. Now it’s up to Rosario & Solway to cling on with u boys now on top for the first time. Need to get back to 100% for last 3 league games, so u won't be looking back at the end asking "I wonder if we had........"
Well done boys. Keep focused and u can stay top.
TOP OF THE LEAGUE. Well done boys. It's up to you now.