Match Centre



Annagh entertained high flyers Lurgan Celtic hoping to build on last weeks good result.  Johnstone was forced into a change with Hylands unavailable due to work but otherwise it was the same starting 11 as last week.

Annagh got off to a bright start with young Brazilian Oscar having the first chance of the game but his shot was just wide.  However on 6 mins it was the same player who mis hit a clearance and from the resulting cross Niall Lavery popped up to score low into the corner from 16 yards.  On 23 mins Annagh thought they had equalised when following a corner the ball bounce to Murphy 7 yards out but his shot was somehow tipped round the post by away keeper for a unbelievable save.  Annagh pushed for an equaliser and Smith struck a post before Lurgan Celtic had a goal ruled out for offside.  Smith then a had a 25 yard free kick easily saved by Fox.  Lurgan Celtic probably ended the half slightly on top .


Annagh Utd 0-1 Lurgan Celtic

Allen came on for McMahon in sitting midfield role.  Annagh pressure continued in the 2nd period as they pushed hard for a goal. Campbell & Smith both  blasted over when well placed, Annagh hit the crossbar on the hour from a Bell corner, 5 minutes later the visitors cleared a Shea Campbell attempt off the line.  Then  Dean Smith headed off the bar and Fox punching a Nesbitt strike away.  It was really mainly one way traffic and Nesbit saw a 20 yard pile driver scooped away by the relieved Fox.   Gardiner came on for Oscar and almost had an immediate impact when he beat 3 players on a run but saw his shot deflected wide.  Murphy then headed over when well placed.
Celtic continued to press from resulting counter attacks and from one of these breaks Wright saved superbly from a 20 yards shot which seemed destined for the top corner.  Riddle came off for Latimer as Annagh went 3 at the back but the visitors dealt a final blow to Annagh’s bad luck when sub Stefan Campbell sealed their victory on 90 minutes shooting low past Andy Wright who had only one save to make in the game.


Annagh Utd 0-2 Lurgan Celtic




Football can be a cruel game and today it was a total injustice not to get something from the game.  After the game I felt like ringing the PSNI to report a robbery of 3 league points!  I was ever so proud of the players as after a tight first half that maybe Lurgan Celtic shaded I thought we totally dominated the 2nd half and with the chances we created should have won the game.  Two top drawer saves from their keeper, twice off the woodwork, way word shooting and one cleared off the line told the story.  We out battled them in midfield and that was pleasing. Harsh reality is that it doesn’t matter that we had more chances, more possession more territorial advantage as they scored 2 we scored none.  Credit them for taking their chances and they had the defensive composure to see the game through. 

Deeply disappointing but the players deserve credit for a performance that did the shirt proud and as a manager I cannot ask any more than that.  There were lots of positives but we need to turn performances into results.

We have played 3 of the top teams in last 6 games so now we need to go on a run picking up points  starting with Glebe next sat. 



Annagh Utd travelled to Moyola knowing that 3 league points were the minimum requirement.  Latimer and Riddle were carrying knocks from training and only made the bench.  The manager decided to make a number of changes  promoting Gavin McMahon (center mid)  and Oscar (right mid)  to the 1st team from 2nds, bringing in Hylands at left back, Murphy at centre back and switching Bell to left midfield and Nesbit to centre mid.

Annagh started the game like they meant business and immediately put the home team under pressure. Gavin McMahon who was making his 1st team debut was influential with good short passing. The movement of the front 2 was good and young Brazilian Oscar causing lots of problems down the right flank.  Smith had a good chance on 14 mins but he just failed to connect 6 yards out. With Murphy and Peden solid at the back Annagh were dominating the game and eventually the pressure told when from a corner Campbell saw his shot blocked on the line and the ball was only cleared as far as Oscar who calmly controlled and picked his spot in the top corner from 15 yards.  The goal helped raise the away team and they worked really hard to win back possession and started to pass the ball with purpose.  A Coleman cross found Smith unmarked 8 yards out but the keeper and defender smothered the shot. Campbell saw a shot blocked.  Then on 35 mins Oscar drove forward and picked out Campbell’s run with a superb pass and the experienced striker buried the chance from 16 yards.  As the game neared the break Coleman burst forward on the overlap and his cross was headed home by Nesbitt as he burst forward.


Annagh 3-0 Moyola

Right at the start of the 2 nd half Annagh defended poorly and Hyland hesitation allowed the striker to nip and score.  Annagh worked hard and extended their lead when Nesbit carried the ball forward and picked out the run of Campbell and his shot found the net off the keeper’s body.  Allen came on for McMahon. Smith then sent close with a curling effort.  Moyola never gave up and forced a very good save from Wright who got a good hand to a point blank shot from 8 yards out.  Gardiner replaced Oscar then Kaka came on for Smith who was carrying a knock. Further chances went begging with Gardiner impressing down the left particularly.


Annagh 4-1 Moyola




It is good to finally get the reward for the hard work and effort put in recently.  I have consistently said that training has been good and the group of players remained positive so it is great to put 3 points on the board and such an excellent display as well.  I decided to make some changes really just to freshen things up and Gavin McMahon did very well as the sitting midfielder and young Oscar was superb on the right.  To be fair the senior players like Smith, Campbell and Peden deserve credit for setting the tone in the dressing room and led by example on the pitch. Special praise goes to Alan Murphy who stepped back into the team and put in a commanding performance.

The first 45 mins was probably the best since I took over at the Annagh with some superb passing and movement and most of all a real work ethic to win the ball back.

Hopefully we can kick on now and grow in confidence. 

Annagh Utd 1st Team v Moyola


After a run of bad defeats Annagh travelled to Wakehurst in the hope of getting back to winning ways.  With almost all players available for selection the manager’s plans were disrupted at lunchtime when Adam Hylands who was due to start the game became unavailable.

Annagh started the game well and created the games first chance when Campbell was put through 1v1 but the keeper narrowed the angle quickly and blocked. However on 11 mins the home team took the lead when Coleman and Latimer jumped fro the same ball which lead to a corner and when the cross came it was headed home by an unmarked player 7 yards out.  Annagh regrouped and soon after got back on level terms when following a Coleman free kick the ball fell to Peden who fired home from 14 yards out.  A good move from Smith, Campbell and Nesbit saw the latter fire just over.  Annagh were on top at this stage and passing the ball well but yet again managed to press the self destruct button on 30 mins. Firstly Coleman tried a suicide ball from right back to the left back position which was intercepted and Wakehurst broke and fired home with a great shot 25 yards out. Then as the game neared half time Smith gave the ball away high up the pitch, Latimer failed to deal with a bouncing ball on the half way line and as Wakehurts broke into the box Riddle recklessly brought down an opponent and the spot kick was fired home.

Annagh 1-3 Wakehurst

Annagh came out fired up and got their reward after 51 mins when Bell fed Gardiner, who cut in and slipped the ball to Campbell who from a tight angle poked the ball home.  It was game on and belief was flowing back into the team but it was soon shattered by yet more sloppy defending.  A cross into the box found an unmarked attacker who laid the ball off to another unmarked attacker and he fired home into the bottom corner from outside the box.  Annagh kept plugging away  and got another goal on 85 mins when Allen slid the ball home from a low cross but it was too little too late.

Annagh 3-4 Wakehurst




I am both frustrated and angry.  For weeks we were struggling to score goals and today got 3 goals away from home yet still got beaten! We have only ourselves to blame, no one else as our defending today was shambolic and it cost us the game. Every goal we conceded had school boy errors in build up and given the run we are on that is hard to take.  It is gutting for management and players to lose a game that was there to be won and that with the goals we scored should have won. That said credit to Wakehurst who when presented with the chances took them and just showed that bit more hunger for the points.

Yet another defeat which is 4 in league in a row and even allowing that 2 of those were away to probably the two promotion favourites it just is not good enough. Even after Sat my view has not changed in that I believe the squad is good enough but confidence is low and we need to break this losing habit v Moyola next Sat. We all need to close ranks and work hard this week and prepare for the game like it is a cup final. 



Annagh Utd entertained the bottom club with the hope of getting back on track after some disappointing results.  For the first time this season there was virtually a full squad to chose from and Johnstone reverted to the normal 4-4-2 with Dean Smith and Shea Campbell starting up front together for the first time this season.

Annagh started well and pressed the opponents all over the park.  The home team should have taken the lead on 12 mins when Campbell broke down the right and his cross found Smith unmarked 10 yards out but the skipper fired just over.  Peden then had a good chance from a Bell free kick but again the chance went begging.  Sport & Leisure saw a cross come shot cannon off a post in what was their only chance on the first half.

In the second half Annagh huffed and puffed but failed to create any clear chances. A series of corners and long throws proved fruitless as the away team grew in confidence as they sought to gain a point. Then disaster for the home team on 75 mins when 3 or 4 passes in midfield saw a through pass find the lone striker who calmly slotted past the advancing Wright.  Annagh were shell shocked and although there was endeavour there was little quality.  Gardiner replaced McCann, then Harrision for Nesbit. Campbell saw a good header well saved but that was about all there was approaching the last 10 mins.  Kaka came on for Coleman and although there was a push for last few mins and a late penalty shout the away team held out comfortably for 3 points.

FT Annagh Utd 0-1 Sport & Leisure


Today was supposed to be the day to kick start our season with at last a full squad to chose from. However it turned into a nightmare as yet again we struggled to create chances and although I thought we played well in the first half, one moment of a defensive lapse and we are a goal down.  Yet again the players failed to spark and confidence is at rock bottom.  The buck stops with me and I and the back room staff need to work out how we get some belief and confidence back into the players.  8 of the team today played v Dundela this time last season when we won 5-2 so I believe the quality is there. I do not believe we deserved to lose any of the last 3 matches but we have so we must learn the obvious lessons. The players are working hard in training so I know it will turn around but it needs to be soon. We are in a rut and every member of the group needs to focus on brining their best to the table. 



For the 1st time this season Annagh had almost a full squad available with  Shay Campbell unavailable due to a wedding and a few other injuries to fringe players.  Capt Dean Smith returned from injury to make only his second start of the season.

Annagh got of to a bright start and while the opening exchanges were even it was the home team making the running.   After only 5 mins Ricthie Nesbit broke clear down the right and hit a drive from 25 yards just over.  Then from a corner 2 players seemed to get in each others way preventing a free header 7 yards out.  Banbridge came into the game more and forced Andrew Wright into an excellent save when it looked like the deadlock was about to be broken.

HT 0-0

It what was clearly a close game the first goal was going to be crucial and it went to Banbridge in the must fortuities manner.  An Annagh player controlled the ball near the penalty spot and turned to thump the ball up field but the ball struck an attacker 20 yards who had his back to goal and looped into the top corner of the net.  Annagh tried hard to get the equaliser but although some half chances came none of them were converted.  Banbridge grew in confidence the longer they stayed in front, while the home team lacked the belief and confidence to force away back.

Time and again good possession was wasted or a final ball or set piece delivery was not good enough.  Despite bringing on all 3 subs to try and spark something the game petered out and that fluke goal was the difference between the 2 teams.

FT Annagh Utd 0-1 Banbridge Town.


Managers Comments

Without question that was a really bad result for the club. No hiding behind excuses or lucky goals or anything else the bottom line was that we were just not good enough on the day. We certainly did not deserve to lose but in truth we didn’t do enough to win it either.  It is totally unacceptable to be put out by an average team in our own league at home. That should not happen.   There was effort there ok but yet again no creativity or spark in the final 3rd.  I tried to shake things up in the last 15 mins by throwing on some more strikers and maybe I got the shape wrong but in 90 mins we hardly forced a save out of their keeper.  When they scored the lucky goal you could see the belief and confidence just drain out of the players. 

No question we are in a slump and we need to bounce back this Sat v Sport & Leisure and get back to winning ways.  If we all keep working hard then results will come as the quality is there. I have belief in this group of players. 

Team v Banbridge Town FC - with Kit Sponsor Nigel O’Haras Jewelers with Joe England



Annagh Utd were able to welcome back Alan Murphy, Ricthie Nesbitt and Jordan Bell into the squad but were without the suspended Shay Campbell & Kaka, the injured Dean Smith & Ciaran McKerr and Adam Hylands who was out of the country. Emilis Grabys was unable to get out of work as yet again the team went into a game with key players missing.

Annagh started the better with good closing down in midfield by Allen and Coleman with Bell breaking forward.  The first chance of the game on 9 mins saw Ritchie Nesbit burst down the right and fire just over.  It was the home team that took the lead on 15 mins much to the annoyance to Alan Murphy who as he headed the ball away was kicked in the head but the Ref waived play on and the Ballyclare player hit a shot that hit a divot and bounced over Andy Wright and into the net. Then a few moments later following a quick free kick McCann brought down his opponent in the box but Andy Wright saved the pen superbly. On 25 mins it was all square when a Bell free kick was headed home by Peden at the back post the looping over the stranded home keeper and into the far corner. The game was pretty even with Andy Wright saving well from point blank shot and also tipping over a header at the back post. Annagh too had their chances and thought they had taken the lead when Coleman burst through to coolly slot home only for a flag to be raised for offside.

HT 1-1

Alan Murphy was forced to retire injured at half time with Gregg Harrison coming on in a more attacking line up. Annagh pushed hard to score the next goal but all too often the final pass or cross lacked quality.  Ballyclare had a good chance that the attacker fired wide. Nesbitt had a great chance on 60 mins when he looked to be through 1v1 with the keeper but the ball bounced awkwardly and the defender made a last ditch tackle. The game was scrappy with both teams aware that the next goal would be key. Unfortunately for Annagh that goal went to the home team. Following a free kick Peden attempted to clear the ball but caught the Ballyclare player and this time the penalty was converted.

Annagh pushed hard for the equaliser with Lucas coming on for Gardiner.  Harrison was a whisker away from connecting at the back post and Harrison again fired home a good shot only for it to be ruled off side. On 88 mins Annagh got a corner and threw caution to the wind and piled almost everyone forward.  The ball was headed out and Ballyclare broke in numbers and eventually the ball was poked past Andy Wright and in off the post to secure the points for Ballyclare.

FT Annagh 1-3 Ballyclare




I am sure I am beginning to sound like a broken record but one of these days and hopefully soon we will be able to field somewhere near our strongest team and get that luck during a game that we have been denied. I thought today was our best performance of the season so far.  We had the better of the first half and competed very well in what was a very close game.   You sometimes hear people discuss the part that luck does or doesn’t play in football but yet again today we were on the wrong end of decisions. Their first goal was a disgraceful refereeing aberration… Alan Murphy is 6’ 7 inches tall and is kicked in the head as he makes a clearance and yet the ref 6 yards away says play on!?!? The shot from his clearance hits a divot and diverts into the net. Coleman scored what looked a good goal and Harrisons goal was a very close call but on the day both given offside. A studs up challenge on Lucas by a player already on a yellow card sees the player given a strong warning rather than the 2nd yellow the rules of the game demand and that would have changed the game in our favour! But you have to believe that these things balance out over the season. 

At the end of the day despite some positives it is a second league defeat in a row as Ballyclare took their chances and we didn’t. We did not create enough from open play and that has to be a concern.  We are struggling to score goals at present but I am confident that will change when we get Campbell and Smith back into the team. They are probably the leagues best partnership but they have yet to play together once for us. 

Next week we have a huge game v Banbridge Town in the Bob Ratcliffe and we need to start getting back to winnings ways. A wise man said “ I believe in luck.. but the harder I work the luckier I seem to get”. 




Annagh Utd travelled to league favourites Knockbreda with high hopes of getting something from the game. Ricthie Allen came into the squad for his first competitive game of the season.  With Alan Murphy on holiday and Jordan Bell, Richard Nesbitt & Ciaran McGurgan all injured there was a further setback when Skipper Dean Smith’s flight home from holiday was delayed ruling him out of the game.

On a blustery day in Belfast it was the home team who forced the play early on with Andrew Wright making an excellent stop after only 10 mins. Again Knockbreda threatened forcing Wright into a routine block. Annagh then settled a bit and got in behind the Knockbreda back 3 on 2 occasions but with no final pass to hurt the home team. On 15 mins Emilis Grabys tracked back to win a ball and his cross into the box saw picked up by Kaka and the home defence fail to clear and Jamie Gardiner drove home from 14 yards. Knockbreda responded with again putting the Annagh defence under pressure with movement in midfield and pace down the flanks causing problems. On 23 mins following a corner there seemed a clear push on keeper Wright as he fisted the ball away and the Annagh players were still appealing when the ball was returned high into the, Andy Wright claimed the ball rose to collect only to be challenged again by a Knockbreda player and the ball bounced to a home player who slammed it into the roof of the net.  The Annagh players were incensed that no foul was given for either challenge.

Less than 5 mind later unbelievably the home team were ahead when Emilsi Grabys tried a square pass just outside the box and the home player intercepted, took 1 touch and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner.  Knockbreda surged forward and were totally dominating in midfield. Then just before half time yet another controversial decision when a pen is awarded for handball against Latimer much to the annoyance of him and Annagh players and its converted.  Yet more controversy when in the Knockbreda box a ball strikes a hand in a similar incident to previous penalty but much to the consternation of Annagh players and bench the Ref waived play on.


Annagh 1-3 Knockbreda

Annagh Utd came out with intent to get back into the game but it was over bar the shouting within 1 min. Straight from the kick off Knockbreda broke and a player is fouled on the edge of the box. The free kick was dispatched into the corner from 20 yards. A real hammer blow for Annagh who were now facing another 43 mins against a rampant home team. Annagh huffed and puffed but never really threatened. The frustration of the away team grew and grew with a series of baffling decisions and Campbell was booked for complaining about one of these. As the game headed for the last 10 mins it seemed to be just petering out before yet more controversy. Firstly on 80 mins an off the ball incident seemed to take place between Campbell and home defender but was not seen by any of the officials. After the dust settled the Ref produced 2 yellow cards and that was Campbell off. Knockbreda then fired in a 5th before yet again the Ref produced another decision which left both benches looking at each other in amazment.  A seemingly inocous clash in midfield saw 2 more yellow cards and as it was Kaka’s 2nd he took went for an early bath. The game was degenerating into a farce now with Annagh defending with 9 v 11 and it was no surprise when the home team added another goal near the end.

Annagh 1-6 Knockbreda




Where do you start with this one! Firstly let me congratulate Knockbbreda on a fantastic performance. They thoroughly deserved the 3 points today and were simply better than us all over the park. No excuses from me, the players today just did not get to grips with the Knockbreda midfield in particular and when they got their chance they were clinical. To have a realistic chance in these games you need to have somewhere near your best team available and we certainly were no where near that today. In fact our midfield was made up of 2 centre backs and a striker so I am not going to be over critical of the players.

One huge disappointment was how we let bad referring decisions effect our attitude especially in the second and we must learn to rise above that and focus on our own game. That said I did feel for the players today as its hard enough to play against Knockbreda but when the ref has a performance like he did today it was like playing against 12 men. We felt the first goal was a clear foul on Andy, for the 3rd Ian Latimer is adamant the ball stuck his face and rolled down his chest, the lines man is 10 yards away with a perfect view and does not flag but the Ref from 35 yards away on the blindside gives a penalty?. Then we have a similar handball in the Knockbreda box but this time no penalty. Shay is booked for protesting a foul that never was in a million years and is given a 2nd yellow following an incident that none of the officials even saw? Then Kaka given a second yellow for what was little more than a coming together? Both benches agreed there was maybe 2 bookable challenges in the whole game! It is hard to look the players in the eye and tell them that it will balance itself out over the season.

We will lick our wounds and get back to training knowing that we have possibly 4 more players back in the squad before the next game. 




Annagh Utd entertained a Ballymoney side looking to bounce back from the thumping they received last week.  Yet again manager Johnstone was forced to shuffle available players into a team on the pitch.  Richard Allen was serving his last game suspension, Richard Nesbitt, Ciaran McGurgan & Jordan Bell remain injured while Dean Smith and Alan Murphy were in holidays. Mart Hughes who is out injured has been allowed to go To Dungannon Swifts Res as he seeks to recover some fitness after his long term injury.  Ian Latimer played despite not being 100 % fit. Jamie Gardiner & Nathan Riddle both returned following there time out of the country.

Annagh started the better and the first 20 mins of the game were played mostly in the away team half despite the away team having the wind in their backs.  After only 6 mins a Metcalf free just alluded two home players when any touch would probably have opened the scoring.  25 mins in a fantastic opportunity saw Gregg Harrison find himself 1v1 with keeper 8 yards out but some how the young striker missed the target. A series of corners and free kick were easilit cut out by the away team defence. As the half wore on Ballymoney grew in confidence and the game became scrappy with neither team on top.


The second half continued as a dour affair with plenty of endeavour but little real quality on show. Ballymoney forced Andrew Wright into a few routine saves while at the other end the home team time and time again saw the final ball let them down. Jamie Gardiner came on for Gregg Harrison then Emilis for Ian Metcalf. As the game entered the Shea Campbell created space and shot well but keeper saved. Kaka came on in midfield for the tiring Ryan Coulter.  The with 5 mins to go Jamie Gardiner was playd through 1v1 with keeper down the left and just as it seemed he would shoot he mis controlled and the chance was gone. The right at the death a free kick into the box saw Darragh Peden  rise higher than the keeper but the ball bounced agonisingly wide.



FT – 0-0


It was a really disappointing result and performance today.  We took nothing for granted today and made sure there was no complacency and I am very happy that the players prepared well and went into the game knowing it would be tough. In the end we just did not have enough quality to win the game and in truth we did not deserve to. I thought we struggled in midfield particularly but overall we did not pass the ball at all. It is easy to point to the half dozen good players we had missing but when you look at the team today only 5 or 6 had any real Irish League experience.   It is difficult to not have the quality we were missing today and to still expect  to win games at this level. You cannot ignore the fact we have used 23 players in 4 games which  shows just how bad the situation has been and I am sure there are no other clubs in the Irish league have used that many! 

Keeping a clean sheet was about the only positive today. We will now focus on Sat and a big game v Knockbreda with hopefully Dean Smith and Ricthie Allen coming into the squad. 



AnnaghUtd went into their 1st home league of the season with a crippling list of unavailable players. Ritchie Allen remains suspended, Jamie Gardiner & Nathan Riddle remain out of the country and the injury list has expanded to include Jordan Bell, Marty Hughes, Ritchie Nesbit, Ciaran McGurgan and Ian Latimer. Then on sat morning Ian Metcalf was forced to pull out due to work commitments. On a positive note Captain Dean Smith was available for his 1st start of the season,  young Ryan Coulter a youth player last season was given his Irish league debut in midfield and Brazilian nicknamed KAKA was given a start.

Annagh started the game well and had the first chance of the game when Campbell broke the offside trap but with the keeper to beat he blazed just over from 14 yards. The next action saw a Portstewart player bust into the box, Wright challenged and certainly caught the player who decided to stayed on his feet in order to slot the ball home however his shot was cleared and the home side escaped. Alertness by Campbell on 17 mins saw him pounce on a defence mix up and slot home from the edge of the box. Soon after Portstewart saw a free header crash against the bar from 8 yards out as they sough to get back into the game. However it was the home side that extended their lead on 30 mins when Peden was caught in a rash challenge inside the box and Skipper Dean Smith slotted home the penalty.  Annagh looked in control but went to sleep from a corner near half time and the Portstewart had an easy task of slamming home unmarked at the back post.  Annagh still had opportunities to extend the lead when McCann broke through 1v1 but saw his shot saved with Kaka putting the rebound wide from 7 yards and from a McCann cross Kaka headed over when well placed.

HT – Annagh Utd 2 -1 Portstewart

The second half got very scrappy with neither team seemingly able to get control of the game or produce any real quality. Harrison came on for Kaka. Campbell saw a chance saved well by keeper while Andy Wright dealt with 2 long range shots comfortably.  Harpur came on for the tiring Coulter. With 10 mins remaining Darragh Peden rose to head home a Smith free kick to make the remaining of the game comfortable.  Alan Ruchie came on for Grabys for last few minutes.




We are delighted with a valuable 3 points today especially given the players we had out and being forced to play players where we did.  Dean Smith did a great job as sitting midfielder and Francis McCann was influential when mode in into centre midfield.  Also young Ryan Coulter had a good debut in midfield. It was a day we needed our experienced players to step up and when you consider our scorers were Campbell, Smith and Peden that says it all. We again lost our way for spells in 2nd half and again have conceded a very soft goal but I can only praise the players for digging deep through our player crisis and delivering 6 points from our first 2 league games.

Next Sat we entertain Ballymoney and hopefully we can welcome a few players back into the squad.



ANNAGH Utd travelled to take on Ards in rrund 1 of the IRN BRU League Cup.  It was always going to be a difficult night for the management and players as unavailability of players left it very difficult to field a team let alone one that could compete with a top championship 1 team.  Dean Smith & Ritchie Allen were suspended, Jordan Bell & Marty Hughes injured, Shay Campbell, Darragh Peden, Jamie Gardiner, Ciaran McGurgan, Nathan Riddle & Raymond Harpur on holiday, and international clearance not yet through for 2 Brazilian players. Johnstone was forced to give a number of Irish League debuts to players from  the Reserve and youth teams.

The game started as it was for most of it with Ards in possession and Annagh defending well. Ards had a few half chances in opening 20 mins but the best chance fell to Annagh on the break when Harrison found himself 1v1 with home keeper but his lob was saved. Ards scored but was ruled out for offside then Andy Wright produced 2 good saves as the home team became frustrated.

More frustration at half time for Annagh Utd as Ian Latimer was forced off injured and then unbelievable another player Richie Nesbit was forced off early in 2nd half in what turned out to be a broken hand. Friars and Jeffers entered the game. Ards continued to press and created a number of chances but failed to convert.  Annagh still had a few breaks that caused some problems for Ards with Grabys bursting past the defence but firing just wide and Harrisons 1v1 opportunity halted for a head injury.  Annagh’s spirited defensive display eventually came to an end on 82 mins when an Ards bundled the ball over the line from close range.  With 2 mins remaining Annagh through caution to the wind and pushed men forward in search of an unlikely equaliser and in last 3 attacks of the game Ards added 3 goals.

Annagh Utd 0-4 Ards




Congratulation to Ards on a thoroughly deserved victory but I was ever so proud of the players who gave everything against the odds and certainly did not let the club down. You couldn’t write the script as already missing 11 players we suffer 2 injuries to key players and played the 2 nd half with 5 players making their Irish League debuts!  Incredibly due to hard work, sheer guts and the performances of Wright, Murphy, McCann and Coleman, the score after 80 mins was 0-0!  The pressure and quality finally told and perhaps we should have just saw the game out rather than throwing players forward in last few minutes as the 3 late goals were not fair on the players.

But what a display of hard work and guts the players gave, especially the young players from the youth team. Andy Wright was in great form while Alan Murphy was outstanding. Never nice to be beaten but under the circumstance there were certainly a lot of positives.

Team V Ards FC


New look Annagh Utd kick off with a win

Annagh Utd kicked off the league campaign away to Chimney Corner.  New signings Adam Hylands, Ian latimer, Ian Metcalf, Gregg Harrison, Jordan Bell & Ritchie Nesbitt all made debuts with other new signings Shea Campbell & Emilis Grabys on the bench.  Dean Smith & Ritchie Allen were suspended and Jay Gardiner & Nathan Riddle unavailable.

On a surprisingly blustery day it was Annagh Utd playing into the wind who got into their stride quickest with an early chance for Harrison over the bar then the same player being thwarted by a superb save but the home keeper. The opening goal came on 22 mins when a great run and cross from McCann found Ian Metcalf drifting in from the left wing to head home from 10 yards into the top corner.  Then 5 mins later an very good passing move saw Nesbitt cut the ball back for McCann who saw his sweat shot strike an upright and bounce to safety. On 30 mins Harrison went through 1 on 1 and with McCann free inside him he hesitated in shooting and the keeper smothered. The home team were not threatening but had a long range effort saved by Wright. Just on half time Peden headed over when well placed from a corner.

HT Annagh Utd 1-0 Chimney Corner

Annagh were forced into a change when Bell was unable to continue through injury with Harpur coming on. With the first meaningful attack Peden headed home at the back post from another good Metcalf corner to make it 2-0. Soon after Harrison made way for Shea Campbell to make his debut.  C Corner pushed hard to get back into the game and saw a good chance clip the post.  Campbell had a free kick just wide then when through 1v 1 just lifted his shot over the cross bar.  As the game moved into the final stages the home team began to dominate midfield and put pressure on Annagh back line and the away team struggled to keep any meaningful possession.  As the game entered the final minute of extra time slack defending allowed the Corner right midfielder to get round the back and his cross was side footed home at the back post. Once Annagh centred the ref blew the final whistle and the valuable 3 points were secured.

FT Annagh Utd 2-1 C Corner




I was delighted with the 1st half performance and with the chances we created we should have been out of sight. Poor finishing meant that a conceded goal could change the game and fair play to corner even though 2-0 down they kept fighting.  It was always going to be difficult today with 6 new players in the starting 11 and even more new players on the bench but overall we must be satisfied with 3 points.  We are bitterly disappointed with giving away such a sloppy goal and we must learn from that.

Next up is Ards on Tues ngt in the IRN BRU LEAGUE CUP and the game could hardly have come at worse  time. Dean Smith & Ritchie Allen remain suspended, Nathan Riddle& Jay Gardiner are out of the country, Darragh Peden & Shea Campbell are on holidays and both Jordan Bell and Martin Hughes picked up injuries today. That’s 8 players missing! Still with a prize of meeting Linfield in the next round we will give it our best shot.

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