ARDS 3 PSNI 2
Ards stretched their unbeaten run to 21 competitive games thanks to an 84th minute winner on Wednesday night.
Ards and Championship Two leaders PSNI played out a fine five-goal County Antrim Shield tie, but it was the Red & Blues who claimed their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a late, that was claimed by substitute Stephen O’Neill.
PSNI caught Ards cold in the fourth minute with a well worked goal. Owen Moody found himself in space on the left-flank before slipping a ball across the front of goal. Joe McWilliams evaded his marker and turned the ball home from close range.
Ards dusted themselves off and worked their way back into the game. Glentoran loan striker Danny McKee worried PSNI goalkeeper David Harrison with a low 20-yard drive in the sixth minute, that sneaked just past the post.
Ards got a deserved equaliser in the 36th minute when Lambe’s in-swinging free-kick was headed in at the near post by Danny McKee, who powered home from six yards. Glentoran fans might think that the could have done with McKee’s presence in Tuesday night’s Shield defeat to Harland & Wolff Welders.
Ards took the lead 10 minutes into the second half thanks to a nice bit of individual skill from Rory Carson. The former Bradford City man skipped his way through the PSNI defence before breaking his way into the penalty area and cutting the ball into the path of Gary Warwick. Winger Warwick has an eye for goal and he fired the ball into into the bottom corner from 15-yards.
The PSNI equalised in the 59th minute with arguably the goal of the game. Midfielder Mark Anderson collected the ball 20-yards from goal and drilled the ball past Ryan Brown with accurate hit.
Ryan Brown was forced into a smart save when the PSNI’s Joe McWilliams tried his luck from 30-yards in the 70th minute.
Ards got their winner with sixth minutes left on the clock. Gary Warwick flighted a fine cross in from the left-side of the penalty box that Stephen O’Neill headed against the post. The ball cannoned back off the woodwork, hit goalkeeper David Harrison on the back and trundled over the line. Striker O’Neill has failed to score this season so he was certainly keen to claim the goal, but the record books might credit it to unfortunate goalkeeper Harrison.
Ards: Brown; Hall, Cully, Gage, Lambe; Carson (86 E. McAllister), Dorrian (75 Templeton), McDonnell (75 O’Neill), Warwick; Arthurs, McKee
Subs Not Used: Convery, Sofley
PSNI: Harrison; Blair, McDermott, McCullough (85 McDonald), Blackledge; McLaughlin, Anderson, Berry (85 Manley), Adams (85 McGowan), McWilliams; Moody
Subs: Simms, Kirk
Referee: Steven Taylor