Belfast Telegraph

Niall Currie dares to dream as Ards soar on against Ballymena

Ballymena United 3-4 Ards

By Billy Weir

BUS companies in the north Down area anticipating an order for an open-top vehicle around the end of April have been told do stand down by Niall Currie.

But with four games gone, it is his Ards side who lead the way, sitting proudly on top of the Danske Bank Premiership table after a crazy afternoon at the Ballymena Showgrounds, where the torrential rain was matched by a torrent of goals.

There were seven in total, three classy ones for Ballymena United from Allan Jenkins, Cathair Friel and Caolan Loughran, and while Ards' were more bread and butter, the important fact is there were four of them.

Stuart McMullan, Emmet Friars and Joe McKinney made the most of simply shocking home defending and, right at the end, Gareth Tommons nipped in to score the winner.

It's hard not to have the words 'Leicester City' running through your head after their marvellous fairytale came true last season and, though Currie is too wily an old fox to get carried away, even he admits it's crossed his mind.

"I said the Leicester City situation will never happen again, that's my personal belief, what they did last year will never happen again. But they did it," he said.

"I would be lying if I said I didn't mention Leicester in a team talk at the start of the season and I think you've got to aspire and give the players the belief that we believe in them and that's what we strive to do.

"These boys are a great bunch of lads and they're not short of ability. I found in the first season when we got promoted when things went wrong a lot of guys lost belief and I think that's why we tried to get in the likes of Johnny Taylor, Aaron Hogg, Emmet Friars, Davy McCullough - these guys have been here and played in the Premier League all their career and they're the right age.

"So it's just enjoy what's going on, keep working hard and we can be competitive. And the biggest pleasing thing so far is that we have been competitive in every game."

The same cannot be said for David Jeffrey, a man who made his name as a no-nonsense defender who would run through walls for the cause, but his current crop would have difficulty running a bath on this display.

"One player said to me 'David, you tell us what to do, we have the information, we know what to do and it's not as if people do it on purpose but we don't do it,'" he said.

"I'm talking about wanting to be a top six club, but at this moment in time we're looking at fighting relegation again."

BALLYMENA: Glendinning, Ervin, Wallace, Owens, Flynn (Loughran, 46 mins), Kane, Thompson (McCloskey, 76 mins), Lowry (McMurray, 46 mins), Friel, Jenkins, Millar. Unused subs: Blayney, Faulkner.

ARDS: Hogg, Hall, Brennan (Byers, 65 mins), Friars, McMullan, McCullough, McMillen, Cherry (Tommons, 74 mins), Keke (McComb, 82 mins), McKinney, McAllister. Unused subs: Arthurs, Hughes.

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)

Man of the match: Emmet Friars (Ards)

Match rating: 9/10

Belfast Telegraph


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