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Ards are on the brink after drawing blank against Ballinamallard United

By Keith Bailie

Ards' slow descent into the Championship continued, as they missed a string of chances in a scoreless draw with Ballinamallard United.

If Warrenpoint Town can beat Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park this afternoon then Niall Currie's men will be condemned to last place.

Due to the unusual promotion chase at the top of the Championship, Ards will not know their fate for another few weeks, but their future is now out of their hands.

The Mallards may well be happy with this hard earned point. They are now four points ahead of Warrenpoint in the battle to avoid a potential play-off.

The Red and Blues squandered a host of chances in the opening half an hour at Clandeboye Park, as Ballinamallard made a slow start.

A Craig McMillen corner kick caused mayhem inside the Ballinamallard box in the sixth minute, with both David Armstrong and Mark Burns failing to turn the ball into the net, as Murphy flapped at the cross.

Ballinamallard's best chance of the half arrived in the 11th minute after Dwayne McManus cut the ball into Andy Crawford's path, but the experienced forward miss-kicked his effort, allowing Graeme McKibbin to make the save.

Murphy almost made a horrible error in the 14th minute when he fumbled a McMillen cross, but somehow the Ballinamallard defence scrambled the ball clear.

Dougan thought he'd given Ards the lead in the 27th minute when his deflected effort looped over Murphy, but Craig Hill got back to head the ball off the line.

Willie Faulkner came close for Ards in the 33rd minute, but his half volley just shaved the post.

Ballinamallard substitute Richard Currie almost gave the visitors the lead with his first touch.

His 59th minute 15-yard drive was pushed away to safety by McKibbin.

Ards' first real chance of the second period arrived in the 67th minute when Faulkner clipped the ball into McMillen's path, but his stretched shot was well held by Murphy.

Dougan should have won the game for Ards in the 85th minute, but his powder puff effort was saved by Murphy. Murphy also made a smart save from Downey deep into injury time.

Ards: McKibbin; Hall, Burns, Armstrong, Rodgers (90 McClelland); Arthurs (85 Davidson), Downey, Faulkner, McMillen; Dougan, Mitchell (73 Cleary). Subs: McClelland, Hunter, Davidson, Muldrew

Ballinamallard United: Murphy; McMenamin, Hill, Stafford, Keohane; McManus, Beacom (57 Currie), Hutchinson, McCartney; Campbell (80 Martin), Crawford (63 Leckey). Subs : Rouse, Feeney

Referee: Mario Apap (Malta).

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