The Rise of Northern Ireland - Ards F.C

Congratulations on your 2nd place finish, a fantastic result! Curtis Dempster's Red and Blue Army!

Commiserations on the gettingSturm Graz in Europe though - that's a tough draw!
Congratulations on your 2nd place finish, a fantastic result! Curtis Dempster's Red and Blue Army!

Commiserations on the gettingSturm Graz in Europe though - that's a tough draw!

Thanks man - Unfortunately I'm now having trouble getting Dempster to sign a new contract! One good season and all of a sudden he thinks he is better than the mighty Red and Blue army that made him!

Yeah was a tough draw, but we actually performed better than i expected!
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Danske Bank Premier:

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Dempster got our season off to a flyer as he bagged himself a hat-trick against last season' strugglers Coleraine. New signing, Brendan Shannon, also scored a goal on his debut from the penalty spot. A good opening match.

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Another strong performance, ads a further 3 points to the tally. We looked clinical in front of goal and made the most of the chances we got.

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Mark McAllister scores his first goal for the club as we breeze past Cliftonville. Unfortunately we had to play out the final 10 minutes with 10 men following 2 late injuries. On the bright side, neither are too serious and will be back on the field in a few weeks.

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A ruthless second half, led to a trashing of newly promoted, Dergview. Our attacking play is looking unstoppable at the minute as we have now scored 15 goals in 4 games!

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We let an early 2 goal lead slip and had to settle for a draw in the end against a decent Crusaders side. A few defensive issues to work on, but we looked good again going forwards.

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We sit top of the League following our unbeaten start to the season. The team feels much stronger than last season and if we can maintain this start then a title challenge is surely on the cards.

I also picked up my first manager of the month award following our blistering start.

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League Cup:

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I fielded a fully rotated team for the League cup game, giving some overlooked players a chance to prove themselves. Both back-up wingers made a strong claim for a starting spot as they guided us to a comfortable victory over our lower league opposition.

County Antrim Shield:

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Again I fielded the so called "B Team" as we progressed to the next round. Both strikers got on the scoresheet but is going to be tough to replace Dempster and McAllister in the starting line-up.
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Danske Bank Premier:
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Unfortunately the game really got away from us in the 49th minute, following Shannon's foul in the area costing us a penalty and a red card. From then on it was pretty one way traffic as Linfield made the man advantage count. Dempster's late goal gave us a glimmer of hope but we were then caught short at the back as we pressed late on to seal our fate and first loss of the season.

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A really poor performance at home. Having been on fire in front of goal all season, we suddenly looked short of ideas and failed to create any clear cut chances.

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Carrick missed a chance to win them the game in the 86th minute from the penalty spot, but a good save from Hogg led to a break away, allowing Tommons to slot home the winner. A dramatic end to the game, but we come away with the 3 points.

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Another slightly sub-par performance as Ballymena dominated large parts of the game. Fortunately we took our chances this time and managed to at least salvage a point from the game.

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Poor discipline cost us a chance at a comeback. We were already a goal down, but Harpur's second yellow in the 55th minute enabled Glentoran to control the game and seal the victory with another goal. Another very sub-par performance.

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A terrific start to the season has come crashing down on us in September as we really struggled for points. As a result we have slipped down to 5th and really need to recapture that form we showed in August!

I made 11 changes to the regular starting line-up, whom all failed to impress. A number of these players were heavily involved in our 2nd place finish last season and should still of had the quality to over come the H&W Welders. A terrible performance overall and a chance at some silverware gone.
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Danske Bank Premier:

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Mark McAllister earned us a narrow victory over Glenavon. Not a glamorous win by any means but a win none the less to kick start the month.

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McAllister stole the headlines yet again, this time scoring an impressive second half hat-trick to complete a terrific comeback. Clearly my inspirational (or rather aggressive) half time team talk worked wonders as we overcame our 1-0 deficit.

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We had to rely on a spot kick from, Shannon to get the win over Dungannon. Not a convincing victory, but that makes it 3 wins in a row in the league.

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A very disappointing end to the game as we threw away a 2 goal lead in the final 16 minutes of the game. Shannon had the chance to put us 3-1 up with 13 minutes to go and potentially seal the points but couldn't convert from the spot and led to a memorable Cliftonville comeback with a last minute winner.

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Despite taking an early start in the game, we were comfortably beaten in the end, courtesy of a Caddell hat-trick. That makes it back to back losses from a winning position...

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Despite our couple of wobbles, we have climbed back up the table into 3rd spot. Linfield are starting to open up a gap at the top and we have a strong pack of 4 breathing down our neck to take 3rd.

The board have agreed to fund my National A License as I continue to work towards my aim of becoming the Northern Ireland National manager.

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League Cup:

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I was forced to bring on a few of my key players as we just managed to scrape through to the next round on penalties. Despite being a league below, Donegal Celtic pushed us all the way and really didn't look out of there depth against us. Easy games just seem to be non-existent in Northern Ireland!

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Danske Bank Premier:

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Another comfortable victory over newly promoted, Dergview. A commanding performance from front to back.

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McAllister snatched us the victory with a second half strike, which he dispatched into the bottom corner.

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A massive win over the League leaders in our final game of November. Almost half our stadium was filled with Linfield supporters, but Arthurs long range strike kept them quiet for the majority of the game.

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We remain in 3rd but a perfect November sees us close the gap on Linfield at the top of the table. A gap has also started to open up on the teams below us as we look to at least comfortably secure a Europa League spot this season.

Unsurprisingly, I was awarded Manager of the Month for the second time this season.

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League Cup:

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This was my first ever derby game as we were pushed all the way by our city rivals, Bangor. Again, we struggled against our lower league opposition and had to come from behind to win the game in extra time. A number of big names were of course rested but we still need to perform better. However, we are closing in on some silverware as we progress through to the semi finals!