Coagh miss their chance as Irish Cup hopes end

Irish Cup 4th Replay

Coagh United 2

Ards 5

(after extra-time)

IT TOOK 210 minutes to settle this 4th round Irish cup tie. Ards had won the original match 3-1 but the IFA ruled a replay after Ards had changed their original team sheet at half time.

This was a match neither team wanted to lose, Ards came back to Hagan Park to prove a point and went away with a very flattering score line.

Ards will thank their keeper Aaron Kerr, who single-handedly kept his team in the match for 85 minutes before Ards finally got the equaliser and that goal gave the Championship side a new lease of life and the second wind to go on and win the match.

Coagh, however, were left licking their wounds and when they look back at this match they will know it’s a match they should have won easy, especially in the second half when they missed a host of chances after carving opening after opening in the Ards defence.

With this controversial match out of the way, Coagh can now look forward to their main aim of getting back into the Championship and they will have to be at their best over the next run of matches.

First up is home to fifth place Dundela who lie five points behind Coagh but have a game in hand. The following week, still at Hagan Park, Coagh play early pace setters Queen’s University while the following week they travel to the very much-fancied Warrenpoint Town.

At Saturday’s match the controversy continued after one minute, Referee Colin Rainey had signalled a goal after Jamie Gardiner’s shot had looked to have crossed the line, but after consulting with his line official Sam Campbell he changed his mind and disallowed the goal, restarting the match with a bounce ball in the six yard box.

This was Ards first scare and although the goal was eventually disallowed the visitors’ keeper made an outstanding save to prevent it after McCordick, Young and Gardiner had engineered the opening. Both sides had to cope with the driving rain and the swirling wind but still managed to play some excellent end to end football.

Coagh’s Tuda Murphy had only a few text book saves to make in the first half, the best coming from a Lockhart shot. Coagh lost striker Ally Young through injury, he was replaced by Scott McGeown who got straight into the action, crossing for McCordick to shoot wide.

Ards missed a couple of good opportunities through Doyle and Fitzgerald but both shot well wide of the target. Coagh finally made the breakthrough on 42 minutes, a great turn by Jaime Gardiner created the opening for Steven Park to slip the ball to McCordick and the centre forward made no mistake slotting the ball low past Kerr for the opener.

The second half started with a James Wright deflected shot going just wide of the post and moments later the home keeper made his first real save of the match getting down to cover McIlhagga shot. As Ards attacked looking for the opener, Coagh were finding more and more room behind the Ards defence.

On 56 minutes McCordick squandered a great chance, Steven Hawe’s excellent drive from the back gave McCordick a world of room but the forward hesitated with his first shot allowing Kerr to parry his first shot and finally make the save from the second.

Ards were first to make the changes, off went McIlhagga to be replaced with Mark Picking while Cully made way for Corey. Ards Lockhart and Corey had half chances saved by Murphy while at the other end McCordick was again guilty of missing another good chance after Park and McGeown sent him clear.

Ards keeper again was the hero, saving from both Park and Gardiner. Tuda Murphy gave Coagh hope with a top drawer save from Doyle but his effort was in vain after Lockhart headed home unmarked to give Ards hope.

With Coagh on the back foot Ards captain Darren Nixon took advantage of slack defending in the Coagh midfield which gave him room and a clear run to score to give Ards the advantage for the first time in the match.

With the clock running out, up stepped Coagh’s Captain Steven Hawe with a looping header on 90 minutes to put the match into overtime. In extra time Coagh looked drained and never got back into the match. Coagh had a half chance saved by Kerr after McCordick broke clear.

When Aaron McKee made it 3-2 with a diving header Coagh threw everyone forward, Steven Hawe came close twice while Steven Park saw another good effort saved.

It was Aaron Kerr’s day. He had done enough to keep Ards in the match and in the final minutes Ards caught Coagh on the break. Garth Corey put the tie out of sight on 119 minutes while Darren Fitzgerald scored from the spot after getting a soft penalty from Reid’s tackle on 121 minutes to give Ards a flattering score line.

Coagh are at home to Dundela this Saturday. Kick off Hagan Park 2pm

Coagh; 1 Tuda Murphy 2 Richard Allen 3 Chris Guiney (14 David Hutchinson) 4 David Calderwood 5 Stephen Hawe 6 Steven Park 7 Aaron Thornton 8 Marcus Dallas (12 Gareth Reid) 9 Alastair Young (15 Scott McGeown) 10 Scott McCordick 11 Jaime Gardiner

Ards; 1 Aaron Kerr 2 Darren Nixon 4 Gary Spence, 20 Darren Lockhart, 3 Kris Pike, 6 David Cully, 19 Sammy Devine, 16 James Wright 7 Jimmy McIlhagga, 10 Darren Fitzgerald, 9 Stephen Doyle 8 Mark Picking 11 Aaron McKee 15 Rab Young, 5 Gareth Corey

Referee; Mr C Rainey; Referee Assistant Mr S Campbell; Referee Assistant Mr P Berry