Jordan Owens' 93rd minute winner secured the points for Crusaders (Picture: PressEye.com)
Saturday, 03 September 2016
A Jordan Owens winner deep into stoppage time was enough to hand Crusaders the points from this top of the table clash with Ards.
Although scoreless the first half was an entertaining affair with both sides having their chances.
Paul Heatley perhaps came closest for the Crues with a snapshot which was well saved by Aaron Hogg while another effort went over after a Jordan Forsythe cross was spilled.
For Ards, Emmett Friars tested Sean O'Neill with a header but the ball was turned away for a corner.
Crues defender Howard Beverland had to be alert early in the second half to make a last ditch stop to prevent Ards from going in front while, on the hour, Hogg had to be at his best at the other end as both sides sought to find a way through.
Moments later Ards were reduced to ten men when substitute Gareth Tommons was dismissed not long after coming on following a challenge on Declan Caddell, and from the resultant free-kick David Cushley almost beat Hogg with a low 30-yard drive which was eventually scrambled to safety.
Hogg was called into action again twice in quick succession to deny Cushley's point blank range volley from an Owens cross before turning away a Billy Joe Burns effort from the right.
Then, with around a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Crusaders were also reduced to ten men following Cushley's dismissal for a tackle on Joe McKinney.
Ards might have opened the scoring soon after when Johnny Taylor came close with a downward header from a Kyle Cherry free-kick.
Niall Currie's side came close again with ten minutes remaining when Cherry teed up McKinney but his low right-foot effort was well saved by O'Neill.
But that winner arrived three minutes into added time when Heatley delivered the perfect cross from the left for Owens to power a header home from six yards into the top right corner.
Ards: Hogg, Hall, Taylor, Friars, Ruddy, Cherry, McKinney, McCullough, McMillen, Keke, McAllister subs Arthurs (replaced McMillen 65), Tommons (replaced McAllister 57), McMullan (not used), McComb (replaced Keke 83), Byers (not used)
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Gault, Coates, Carvill, Caddell, Forsythe, McClean, Owens, Heatley subs Lowry (replaced Forsythe 82), Mitchell (not used), Cushley (replaced Gault 57), Holden (replaced Carvill 71), Clarke (not used)
Referee: Steven Taylor
|Billy Joe Burns|
|Jordan Owens||90 +3|