Tame Swifts held by Ards

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Tame Swifts held by Ards thumbnailRyan Harpur battles to keep control of the ball.

ON a frosty afternoon at Stangemore Park fans were left with little to warm the soul as a dull and lifeless game resulted in a scoreless draw.

Dungannon Swifts...0

Unlike last year, when the sides served up a riveting 3-3 draw, this one could easily have seen 120 minutes before a goal was scored.

This was the Danske Bank Premiership's third 0-0 this season. The highlight of the game came as Ards' Kyle Cherry, received a second booking late on.

It started promisingly enough, with Ards hitting the crossbar and Ryan Mayse impressing for the Swifts, but the quality soon dipped.

Ards were missing a number of players so will probably be more content with their point despite creating the better chances, the best of the few chances came early in the game.

Ryan Mayse headed wide for the Swifts before Michael McLellan almost produced a moment of magic for Ards.

Taking control of the ball outside the box, McLellan hit a lovely effort beating Addis but cannoning off the woodwork.

Ards went close again when a corner found David Elebert inside the six yard box, but the experienced defender headed straight at the goalkeeper.

Set in a solid 4-5-1 Ards proved impossible for the Swifts to breakdown and their game plan worked perfectly with Dungannon unable to get the ball into the box often enough.

However, they did have a few chances, Harpur's sweet strike was denied by some last ditch defending while Lafferty's rebound was also closed down quickly.

A well executed attacking move ended with Burke finding Mayse but a deflection stopped his shot from truly troubling Johnstone. As half-time approached Mayse twice went close, driving an effort into Sam Johsntone's arms before sending another just wide.

If the first half offered little in the way of excitement, the second offered next to nothing. A free-kick gave Douglas Wilson a sight of goal, but he shot into the Ards wall.

The fact this moment is discussed on this page, highlights just how torrid the second 45 minutes were.

Ards also had a shout for a penalty when Kyle Cherry went down after contact from Harpur. His appeal was waved away and he was able to bounce to his feet compose himself, take a touch and fire a shot narrowly wide.

Desperate to steal a late winner, Swifts head coach Rodney McAree brought on McElroy and Peter McMahon. However, these changes made little impact on the game and Ards held firm, even after they were reduced to 10 men in the 86th minute.

Speaking after the game, Rodney admitted he is concerned about his side's inability to be ruthless and may seek to address the issue in January.

"In the last three games, we have failed to hit the back of the net, it is becoming a little bit of a concern at the moment, but it is something that I know will rectify itself, it is something that will come.

"We will try to strengthen that position in January, but it is very difficult.

"If you can get a centre forward in and he's coming from the same league, he probably won't have been playing that much and match fitness might be an issue.

"Getting the right one in January is a big problem. The ones that you might want are playing weekly and scoring elsewhere so you are never going to get them.

"We'll have a look but I don't like January as a month for ding business, it is very difficult to get what you want."

However, it is not all doom and gloom for the Swifts, with Rodney delighted by his sides defensive displays.

"In the last few weeks we have played Carrick, Linfield, Coleriane and Ards and conceded just two goals.

"That is a major plus and something we can proud of and build on."

Dungannon Swifts - Staurt Addis, Kris Lowe, Chris Hegarty, David Armstrong, Jarlath O'Rourke, Dougie Wilson (Grant Hutchinson, 83), Seanan Clucas (Paul McElroy, 65), Ryan Harpur, Cormac Burke (Peter McMahon, 79), Ryan Mayse, Johnny Lafferty.

Subs not used: Andy Coleman, Ally Teggart


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