Paul McElroy's shot was turned into his own net by Reece Neale (©INPHO/Matt Mackey)
Saturday, 27 January 2018
A goal early in the second half was enough to give Dungannon Swifts the edge over Ards at Stangmore Park.
David McAllister created an early opening for Ards when, on 11 minutes, he burst through only to see Stuart Addis blocked his effort before Cameron Stewart sent the follow up high over the bar.
At the other end Mark Patton went on a run through the defence but Sam Johnston did enough to deal with the danger at the near post.
Cormac Burke then had a go from distance for the Swifts before, just after the half-hour mark, a David Armstrong cross was headed just wide and into the side netting by Johnny Lafferty.
The best chance of the first half came right at the end when Burke's cross to the back post was met by Lafferty but he could only direct the ball against the upright before it bounced into the grateful arms of the 'keeper.
The deadlock was broken six minutes into the second half when Burke's corner wasn't cleared, eventually falling for Paul McElroy to fire towards goal with the ball coming off Reece Neale into his own net.
Ards might have levelled from the spot when Armstrong was found guilty of upending Johnny Frazer only for Guillaume Keke to see his penalty well saved.
And Keke tried to redeem himself later in the game with a strong effort from the edge of the area but Addis proved equal to that challenge too.
Dungannon Swifts: Addis, Hegarty, Armstrong, McElroy, Harpur, O'Rourke, Patton, Lowe, Burke, Hutchinson, Lafferty subs Fitzpatrick (replaced Lafferty 83), McMahon (not used), Teggart (replaced Burke 83), Coyle (not used), Campbell (replaced Patton 87)
Ards: Johnston, Glendinning, Elebert, Byers, Neale, Tommons, L. Kelly, McAllister, Frazer, McLellan, Stewart subs Cherry (not used), Keke (replaced Stewart 55), J. Kelly (replaced L. Kelly 52), McAleenan (replaced Elebert 58), Davidson (not used)
Referee: Keith Kennedy