Levi Ives shields the ball from Eamon McAllister (©INPHO/Matt Mackey)
Saturday, 15 December 2018
Two goals in the opening ten minutes set Cliftonville up to defeat Ards for only a third away win of the season.
Cliftonville almost moved in front as early as the fifth minute. Ards' David Elebert was adjudged to have handled a cross into the box, prompting referee Ian McNabb to award a penalty but Joe Gormley cool only look on as keeper Samuel Johnston saved his spot-kick.
But the Reds only needed to wait another three minutes to take the lead after Gormley knocked the ball back across the box for Rory Donnelly to touch it over the line.
Then, not long after that, Gormley made up for his penalty miss by doubling Cliftonville's advantage to beat Johnston at the second attempt with Donnelly this time turning provider.
Ards reduced the deficit midway through the first half in fortunate circumstances when Donnelly headed into his own net whilst attempting to clear a corner.
Cliftonville should have restored their two-goal cushion just before the break, but Stephen Garrett couldn't hit the target from inside the area after Levi Ives crossed from the left.
But Ives went one better on 53 minutes as Cliftonville did grab their third when, again, a cross from left was delivered into the area but, on this occasion, it bypassed everyone and ended up in the net.
Gareth Tommons came close to cutting Cliftonville's lead again with a snapshot after meeting a cross from the right only for his effort to whistle just past an upright.
Ards: Johnston, E. McAllister, Byers, Elebert, Cherry, McLellan, D. McAllister, Tommons, McClean, Nelson, McAleenan subs Mooney (not used), Kerr (replaced Elebert 33), M. Kelly (replaced McLellan 65), Mitchell (not used), McKenna (not used), McArthur (not used), Strain (replaced Cherry 53)
Cliftonville: Neeson, McGovern, Ives, Harney, C. Curran, Garrett, R. Donnelly, Catney, McConnell, Gormley, A. Donnelly subs Breen (not used), Harkin (not used), R. Curran (replaced McConnell 64), McDonald (replaced Catney 74), Maguire (replaced Garrett 84), McMenamin (not used), McNulty (not used)
Referee: Ian McNabb
|Jaimie McGovern||90 +3|