Published Friday, 24 January 2014
Linfield drew against Ards at Windsor Park on Friday. (© Presseye)
The visitors came from two goals down to salvage a point with a late goal which prevented David Jeffrey's side from opening up a seven point gap at the top of the table.
It all started well for Linfield as they took the lead on 17 minutes. Matthew Tipton played a neat ball to Jamie Mulgrew who drilled the ball home from close range.
However that lead was short lived as Ards were gifted an equaliser two minutes later as goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey hit clearance off a defender and striker Mark McClelland snapped up the chance firing into the empty net.
That shook the Blues but they gained the upper hand on 26 minutes after Andy Waterworth made good progress on the right wing and his cross was forced home by Philip Lowry.
Four minutes before the break and Ards were right back in it again. Former Linfield defender David Armstrong was first to pounce on a loose ball in the box following a corner from McClelland.
The second half failed to live up to first with Linfield unable to get a grip of the game and Ards began to sense that they could salvage something from the match.
Midway through the half Ivan Sproule did well to create a chance for Tipton but his parting shot was saved by McKibben in the Ards goal.
The home fans were waiting in hope for Linfield to seal the points but they never looked like adding to their score and in the end it was Ards who found the net again with five minutes to go. Stephen Gordon was the man on target with a firmly hit shot that gave Tuffey no chance.
Ards might have gone one better had Tuffey not kept out a shot from Willie Faulkner on 81 minutes with the final effort of the night falling to Lowry who headed over.
The point sees Linfield now five clear of second placed Cliftonville, but manager David Jeffrey will see this as two key points dropped at home.
At Shamrock Park Portadown twice came from behind to defeat Mid-Ulster neighbours Dungannon Swifts 4-2.
After a quiet opening spell Portadown goalkeeper David Miskelly was forced to make a smart save to divert a Matt Hazley free kick away for a corner.
The corner was swung in by Jamie Tomelty and Adam McMinn was left unmarked and his looping header beat Miskelly and the Swifts were ahead on six minutes.
It was McMinn's first goal of the season and a dream start for Darren Murphy's side.
It should have been 2-0 on 19 minutes when Hazley set up Jamie Tomelty, but he could not apply the finish.
Tomelty tried to make up for that miss with another fine effort on goal but his shot flew just wide.
Gary Twigg brought the sides level after he latched onto a pass from Peter McMahon and fired past keeper Gareth Buchanan.
Dungannon had several chances to go into the break ahead but failed to make them count while right on the whistle Twigg was expertly set up by Joshua Barton but a timely tackle by Fra Brennan saved the day for the visitors.
Nine minutes after the restart Dungannon edged in front again went Ryan Harpur beat Miskelly with a brilliant free kick.
However, Ronnie McFall's side made it 2-2 when Breen banged in a free kick by Emmet Friars free kick.
The Ports went ahead for the first time on 66 minutes thanks to a stunning effort from Peter McMahon who collected a long clearance from Miskelly and thumped a dipped shot over Buchanan.
Sean Mackle made the points certain for the home team after nodding home a cross by Chris Casement with nine minutes to go.
Two of Friday's other scheduled matches, Coleraine v Ballinamallard Utd and Warrenpoint v Glenavon, were called off due to water-logged pitches.
© UTV News