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Louth rivals Albion and Ardee make a point in stalemate


Albion Rovers scorer Darren McCann.

Albion Rovers scorer Darren McCann.

Albion Rovers scorer Darren McCann.




Albion Rovers and Ardee Celtic played out a draw on Friday night at Townparks – a result that doesn’t really help either side.

This was Rovers fifth draw of the season from their opening 11 games, meaning they remain in the bottom two, while a win for Ardee would have seen them go second in the table.

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On the balance of play, though, it was probably a fair result, with clear chances few and far between for both sides.

In was a scrappy first half the visitors didn’t really threaten Ardee’s goal. They forced a series of corners which came to nothing and tried their luck from distance as opposed to working the ball into the box.

In turn, Helder Concalves didn’t have much work to do in the Albion goal. Some simple fielding and the odd goal kick was as much as was asked of the ’keeper.

This was very much a physical game, with both sides going in full-blooded but without any malicious tackles flying in.

Albion should have opened the scoring early in the second half. A ball over the top by Darren McCann fell to Ciarán Hartnett and he controlled the ball, but with just the keeper to beat he failed to score.

In fairness, Ardee ’keeper Caolan McMullan made his body big to prevent the goal.

In 27 degrees of heat, Georgie Hristolov ran himself into the ground for Albion and was everywhere before being subbed off in the 70th minute.

The game’s opening goal came on 67 minutes, just before the second water break. From a free kick McCann took advantage of a poorly set wall to fire low into the bottom left-hand corner, past the unsighted McMullan.

Albion then made four changes to give their bench a run and relieve a few tired bodies.

With three minutes remaining Albion were forced to scrambled the ball behind for a corner and while the initial delivery was cleared, the ball was chipped back into the back post where Bryan O’Connor was free to head home for Ardee.

Albion were unlucky not to snatch a last-gasp winner, though, as they finished the game the stronger.

Jordan Tan hit the post, and with seven Rovers players in the box the ball instead dropped to an Ardee defender who hacked it clear.

Then, with the final kick of the game, the visitors had the ball in the net, only for the referee to rule it out for offside.

Ardee Celtic face a local derby on Friday night as they welcome Square United to Townparks for what is always an entertaining fixture.

Albion boss Johnny Campbell has been predicting improved results and his side could move out of the bottom two on Sunday if they manage to take all three points from their trip to Kells Celtic.

Ardee CELTIC: Caolan McMullan, Noah Coyle, Lorcan Myles, Shawni Dowdall, Bryan O’Connor, Brendan Matthews, Cúan O’Reilly, Janeks Dursis, Cillian Scott, Aaron Dunne, Oisín Dowdall. Subs: Aaron Kearney, Jack Regan, Cian Kirwan, Tony Francis, David Jibona

Albion ROVERS: Helder Concalves, Karl Harding, Paddy Browne, Gary Maher, Adam Gartland, Darren McCann, Jason Black, Georgie Hristolov,, Ciaran Hartnett, Pádraig McDonagh, James Tester. Subs: Dean Fitzpatrick, Jordan Tan, Eammon Pettigrew, Lane Coulter.