Super-sub Scott Davidson gets Ards' season up and running
Carrick Rangers 0 Ards 1
Scott Davidson grabbed a last-gasp winner to earn Ards their first win of the season at the Loughshore Hotel Arena last night.
The victory hauled Colin Nixon's team off the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership table, but it was a game that will not live long in the memory.
Both teams finished with only 10 men with Ards having Kyle Cherry dismissed in the second half, and he was soon followed by Carrick Rangers midfielder Mark Surgenor.
It certainly looked like a stalemate until substitute Davidson's header - and the relief among the fans and the Ards entourage on the bench was tangible.
Indeed, it was the visitors who roared from the traps with David McAllister tricking his way past Aaron Smyth on the left.
His cross was pawed away by Harry Doherty only to Guillaume Keke, who cleverly laid the ball off to Johnny Frazer, who blazed over the top.
Keke was then narrowly off target with a bullet header following a delicious cross from Reece Glendinning, who was making his Ards debut.
As the half-time clock ticked down, Ards were right out of luck after producing the best move of the half. Keke's vision sent Frazer clear and, after waltzing past Denver Gage, the striker's shot inched past the post, with Doherty at full stretch.
The visitors' task was made that much more difficult when they lost Cherry on 62 minutes after he lashed out at Smyth, referee Lee Tavinder waiting until the midfielder was patched up after the injury before producing the red card.
Carrick's numerical advantage lasted a mere four minutes after Surgenor was dismissed after picking up his second yellow card.
But Ards nicked it right at the end when substitute Michael McLellan's header came back off the crossbar, and fellow replacement Davidson was there to supply the final touch.
Carrick: Doherty, Smyth (Malone, 89 mins), Edgar, McNally, Gage, McAlister, Roy (Smith, 69 mins), Surgenor, Clarke (Taggart, 51 mins), Maybin, Mooney. Unused subs: McMullan, Morrow.
Ards: Hogg, Hall, Taylor, Elebert, McMillen (Tommons, 63 mins), Frazer, Hanley (Davidson, 73 mins), Cherry, Glendinning, McAllister, Keke (McLellan, 85 mins).Unused subs: Byers, Arthurs.
Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon)