Cliftonville endured a frustrating opening to the new Danske Bank Premiership season as Ards twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at the Bangor Fuels Arena this afternoon. Levi Ives' first goal for the Club put the Reds in front and, though Michael Ruddy levelled from the penalty spot, Jay Donnelly made it 2-1 ahead of Joe McKinney earning the hosts a share of the spoils. Ards created the first opportunity of note with Craig McMillen forcing a save from Jason Mooney before Jay Donnelly called Aaron Hogg into action in almost identical circumstances at the other end of the park. Chris Curran dragged a right footed attempt wide of the mark and David McAllister tried his luck for Ards before the deadlock was broken in eye-catching fashion when Ives teamed up with Martin Donnelly in an intricate passing move that ended with the full-back tucking a right-footed strike into the back of the net. The advantage didn't last long, however, and the North Down outfit were level when Ruddy confidently blasted home from the spot after Caomhin Bonner had handled McMillen's cross inside the area. A bright start to the second-half was rewarded when Cliftonville restored their lead within 60 seconds of the re-start; Martin Donnelly's corner striking Jason McGuinness and falling perfectly for Jay Donnelly to nudge a delightful lob over Hogg. Martin Donnelly blasted into the side netting and namesake Jay's overhit cross stopped Davy McDaid from extending Cliftonville's superiority before Ards made it 2-2 when the impressive McKinney gathered possession wide on the left, weaved past McGuinness and held off Ives before finding the top corner from an unlikely angle. The Reds were unable to fashion any clear-cut openings as the clock ticked towards a conclusion, however substitute Darren Murray was unfortunate to see a powerful blast come back off team mate Jay Donnelly and ricochet away from danger.
Ard to stomach
Ards 2-2 Cliftonville
Levi Ives weaves his way past Fra Brennan and laps up the celebrations after finding the net, while (right) Caoimhin Bonner sticks tight to Guillaume Keke
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Jaimie McGovern Chris Ramsey Daniel Hughes Jude Winchester Darren Murray
  
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Jason Mooney Levi Ives Caoimhin Bonner Jason McGuinness Chris Curran James Knowles Davy McDaid Martin Donnelly Ryan Catney Jay Donnelly Tomas Cosgrove