ARDS 1 COLERAINE 2
Coleraine substitute Jamie McGonigle broke Ards hearts with a stoppage time winner at the Bangor Fuels Arena.
The Bannsiders and the Red and Blues traded goals in the second half through Darren McCauley and Joe McKinney, before Ards defender Emmet Friars received his marching orders in the 75th minute. The ten men finally succumbed in stoppage time, with McGonigle scoring a fine goal.
Ards started brightly, forcing former Bangor goalkeeper Chris Johns into a fine save at his old stomping ground in the second minute. Joe McKinney’s 20-yard piledriver was flicked out of the top corner by the former Northern Ireland youth international.
Coleraine’s best chance of the half arrived in the 24th minute when Ards failed to clear the danger. The ball dropped to Ian Parkhill, who forced Aaron Hogg into a point-blank save. Parkhill looked set to convert the rebound, but Emmet Friars made a goal-saving block.
Coleraine’s Scottish striker Jordan Allen should have scored in the 39th minute. A fine right-wing cross from Adam Mullan was met by Allen, but his lacklustre header was held by Hogg.
If the first half was a tepid affair, the second half had no shortage of action.
Ards full-back Michael Ruddy’s jinking run and powerful shot forced Johns into another good save in the 48th minute. In the 57th, Hogg denied Coleraine’s Darren McAuley with an impressive save of his own.
Coleraine broke the deadlock in the 65th when Ian Parkhill sent over a fine cross to the back post that McAuley volleyed home in spectacular fashion.
Ards equalised four minutes later when Craig McMillen’s corner-kick picked out Joe McKinney at the back-post. McKinney’s header crossed the line before Niall McCafferty could head away the danger.
Coleraine substitute James McLaughlin thought he had scored in the 75th minute, but Ruddy produced a spectacular goal-line clearance.
Ards were reduced to 10 men in the 75th minute when Emmet Friars picked up a second yellow card for a halfway line foul.
The Bannsiders pushed for a winner, and they were eventually rewarded in the first minute of stoppage time when sub Jamie McGonigle burst down the left-flank, before cutting into the box and curling a low effort into the far corner of Hogg’s net.
Ards came within a whisker of equalising in the 92nd minute. A Jordan Hughes free-kick was almost dropped by Chris Johns, but a fortunate bounce took the ball past the post.
Ards: Hogg; Byers, Friars, McMullan, Ruddy; McCullough (Arthurs 12), Cherry (Keke HT); McMillen, McKinney, McAllister; McComb (Hughes 65)
Subs Not Used: Rea
Coleraine: Johns: Mullan, Douglas, McConaghie, Douglas; Kee, McCafferty, McCauley; Parkhill (McGonigle 79), Brown; Allen (McLaughlin 57)
Subs Not Used: Higgins, Morrow, Ogilby
REFEREE: Stephen Gregg