CO ANTRIM SHIELD: Adam Brown strike takes Ards past Dundela

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Adam Brown’s fine half-volley was the only thing that separated Ards and Dundela at Clandeboye Park on Tueday night.

In hard-fought, but dull County Antrim Shield clash, Championship club Dundela gave Premiership side Ards a real fright, only for a second-half goal from youngster Brown to settle the tie. The midfielder’s impressive strike vindicated Colin Nixon’s decision to give the Ards Under 20s star a chance.

Ards had an opportunity to take the lead in the opening minutes. Jonah Mitchell steered a shot over Alan Blayney only for Thomas Healey to clear his shot off the line.

As the half progressed Dundela demonstrated why they’re flying-high in the Championship. In the ninth minute Carl McComb, one of seven former Ards players in the Dundela squad, clipped the crossbar from 10 yards.

Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Blayney was called into action in the 21st minute. Ards captain Gareth Tommons cut the ball back for Michael McLellan. The striker hit the target with a powerful close-range effort, only for Blayney to save.

In the 35th minute, Dundela put together a tidy move, but winger William Bingham was unable to finish it off, hitting the outside of the post.

Mark McClelland had two chances to give Dundela the lead inside the 43rd minute. His first effort was smothered by Sam Johnston, while his second attempt was headed off the line by the alert Craig McClean.

While Dundela were the better side in the first half, the Premiership team upped the tempo in the second half. Both Eamon McAllister and Michael McLellan forced Blayney into good saves before Adam Brown broke the deadlock. In the 57th minute, Jonah Mitchell’s superb volleyed cross picked out broke at the back post, who steered a half-volley high into the net from 15 yards.

Nathan Hanley was unfortunate not to equalise in the 69th minute. He hit a fine low drive from 25-yards, that crept just past Johnston’s post.

Substitute Jordan Hughes was another to try his luck from range. He clipped the top of the Ards crossbar in the 84th minute, from around the 30-yard mark.

In the end, Ards did just enough to progress to the quarter-finals with Sam Johnston keeping his fourth clean sheet in a row. The young goalkeeper has not conceded in 374 minutes off football.

Ards: Johnston; Kerr, Byers, Taylor, McClean; Brown, Tommons, Nelson (72 J. Kelly), E. McAllister; Mitchell, McLellan (64 M. Kelly)

Subs: Cherry, J. Kelly, M. Kelly, McArthur, Torrens

Dundela: Blayney; King, Healey (78 Jordan Hughes), Murdock, Parker; Bingham (70 McMaster), Hanley (70 Bingham), Murray, Burns; McClelland, McComb

Subs: Hughes, Magee, McMaster, Nimmick, Watts

Ref: Shane Andrews (Comber)