After drawing their first four Championship 1 fixtures, Ballyclare Comrades’s undefeated league record disappeared against Ards who ran out 2-1 winners.
Emmett Templeton gave Ards an early lead before Michael O’Hanlon levelled the scores after the break. But a Darren Doherty own goal midway through the second session proved decisive for Niall Currie’s men.
The Comrades took some time to adjust to the lively ball on the 3G surface and when skipper Adam McCart misjudged one bouncing ball in the eighth minute, Templeton nipped in to slot in to the empty net with Jonah Nicholl caught off his line.
Comrades finished the first half on top, and just before the interval strong claims for a penalty were denied when Reid appeared to have been fouled, while McCart headed over from a McIlveen cross.
Sub Curtis Dempster made an immediate impact when he was introduced for Gary Brown at the interval. He got to the by-line to pick out O’Hanlon whose downwards header flashed into the bottom corner.
Back on level terms the Reds were on top for a time, but it all changed when Dempster was carried off in the 72nd minute with a suspected foot fracture following a robust tackle.
Immediately Ards regained the lead when full-back Doherty turned the ball into his own net when attempting to clear a cross.
“Even Ards officials admitted that we were the best team,” confirmed manager David Dorrian, “so despite the defeat we took a lot of positives from this fixture.”
Ballyclare Comrades: Nicholl; Doherty (E Hill 83), McCart (C), Wharry, Woods; Brown (Dempster 46) (King 67), McIlveen, Dobbin, O’Hanlon; Simpson, Reid. Subs not used: Getty, McQuitty.
Comrades have no match this weekend with their next outing a home game against Armagh City on October 3.