FOOTBALL: Ards stun Co Andrim Shield holders Linfield; Crusaders also through

As Halloween horror shows go, this just about tops the lot.

Tuesday, 31st October 2017, 1:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 5:13 am
Crusaders Paul Heatley

David Healy’s team, still smarting from a league spanking by Crusaders last week, were dumped out of the Toals County Antrim Shield by battling Ards at Windsor Park.

David McAllister hit the goal that mattered just after the interval, sending the small band of visiting fans into raptures.

But it was another night of misery for the home supporters, whose team now have now relinquished one of the three trophies they won last season - and face an almighty task of reeling in high flying Coleraine in the Premiership table.

Ards David McAllister pictured after scoring his team's goal against Linfield

It’s no wonder the fans vented their anger at the finish.

Healy promised changes to the team that defeated Ards in the league at the weekend and he didn’t disappoint, drafting in goalkeeper Gareth Deane, Mark Stafford, Jimmy Callacher, Aaron Burns, Stephen Fallon, Niall Quinn and Ross Clarke.

Colin Nixon handed a number of his young guns a chance. Josh Kelly, Ben Arthurs, Adam McAleenan and goalkeeper Sam Johnston were all handed starting shirts along with Greg Hall and Nathan Hanley.

Cameron Stewart had the ball in the net on 15 minutes, but he was adjudged by referee Keith Kennedy of bundling over goalkeeper Johnston.

Ards David McAllister pictured after scoring his team's goal against Linfield

Ironically, the visitors then missed a great chance when Jonny Frazer tricked his way past Mark Stafford only to screw his shot across the face of the goal.

But the Blues upped the ante after that Stephen Lowry had a 20-yard drive pawed away by Johnston before Stafford blazed over the crossbar form six yards.

Jordan Stewart, scorer of one of his team’s goals in the 2-0 win over Ards at the weekend, then hammered a free kick inches past the post.

It was all one way traffic at this stage, Niall Quinn provided a peach of a cross for Cameron Stewart to bullet over the crossbar with the flick of his head, before the big striker brought the best out of Johnston with a low shot from the edge of the box.

Ards shocked the home supporters by forging into the lead just three minutes after the break - a goal fit for any occasion.

McAllister was sent clear through the middle and, after waltzing past a bemused Chris Casement, he drilled an unstoppable shot past Deane.

The Blues went in search of an equaliser. But defender Josh Robinson missed a sitter form six yards before Quinn was out luck with a sweet 20 yard free kick.

Stewart was then denied what looked like a certain equaliser 14 minutes from time when Doherty saved from Stephen Fallon.

The little midfielder picked up the pieces, twisted and turned before his bullet drive was brilliantly pushed to safety by the impressive shot stopper.

LINFIELD: Deane, Stafford (Robinson 46), C Stewart (Waterworth 65), Callacher, Lowry, J Stewart, Burns, Casement, Fallon, Quinn, Clarke (Millar 65).

Unused subs: Adams, Scannell.

ARDS: Johnston, Hall, Byers, McAleenan, Ruddy, Frazer, Tommons, Hanley, McAllister (Mitchell 65), Arthurs (McComb 74), Kelly.

Unused subs: McLellan, Liggett, Torrens.

REFEREE: Keith Kennedy.

Meanwhile in a thrilling North Belfast derby a brace from subsitute Paul Heatley saw Crusaders come from 2-1 down to win 3-2 at Solitude.

David Cushley gave the Crues a 14th-minute lead against Barry Gray’s side, scoring from the penalty spot after Jay Donnelly had handled inside the area.

Just before the half hour mark, Joe Gormley equalised for Cliftonville, stooping to head in after Rory Donnelly had flicked on goalkeeper Brian Neeson’s free-kick.

Neeson superby denied a Jordan Owens header, while Gormley and Cushley both struck the woodwork, before Gormley found the net with a right-foot drive into the bottom corner midway through the second half.

Substitute Heatley shot into the bottom corner off the post five minutes from time and then drilled home from a tight angle three minutes later.

Crusaders midfielder Philip Lowry was taken to hospital after suffering a suspected broken arm.

Ards and Crusaders join Ballymena United and Carrick Rangers in reaching the last four of the competition.