ARDS v Glentoran 7th April 2018

A pleasant, spring afternoon by the sea sees us taking in winger Jonny Frazer. I had earmarked the winger pre – season as someone to look out for in his first season with Ards. Following his excellent midweek volley against Dungannon Swifts I looked forward to see how he would do against Glentoran in the second round of post- split games.

Wingers have fascinated me over the years insofar as they of all players tend to be more inconsistent than other positions. I suspect this is perhaps unfair a little as the geography of their position means that they can be more isolated than others. Our candidate started wide left in a four – four – two formation and it would seem that his job was to provide crosses for big centre – forward Cameron Stewart.

His first contact was to try and make something of a ball in the air which he got his head to ahead of his marker but everything was a bit scrappy at this juncture. It wasn’t long however before he get down to business. Picking up a ball from a throw – in his pace took him away from the Glentoran midfield and he was bearing down on the centre of the Glentoran defence. He was looking to release it wide but was clipped by Marcus Kane which earned Ards a free – kick in a dangerous area. The run, whilst not perhaps kick-starting the game into life certainly flagged danger to Glentoran. It was a strong run with end product.

This started a fairly busy and bountiful period for Frazer. He was showing for the ball and providing width for fellow midfielders. Taking one difficult ball with little room he won a corner and soon after created an angle for himself to put in his first meaningful cross which had Glentoran scrambling the ball away for another corner. He is clearly built for speed but also has a low centre of gravity.

He was not averse to defensive duties and covered back well when his marker Kerr broke forward doing enough to disrupt a move. His speed is a definite tactic for Ards and the positions he takes up highlight this such as being at the edge of the box for corners enabling him to cover counter attacks. He also is expected to be first to harvest knock downs from Stewart or McClellan when on the offensive.

Occasionally he veered into the middle of the pitch when on one of his runs but seemed not sure what to do next and was getting caught in possession whilst also taking a few kicks for his trouble.  On his next burst he headed for open water down the left but the ball just ran out of play before he could do damage. Having indicated to Glentoran he was the key threat he was doing well setting up shop between O’Hanlon and Kerr and was making use of the space. Kerr, the Glentoran right- back was giving as good as he got and it was an interesting contest with neither player perhaps getting a clear and distinct upper hand on the other.

As the first half drifted to a close he picked up a Stewart knock down and got a shot away which had Elliott Morris scrambling for a moment before it drifted wide. Once again he got caught in possession as he moved inside to get the ball on his right foot which possibly was an indication of how well Kerr was doing against him. His first mistake of the day was a loose pass infield from his position which was badly misplaced and released pressure on the Glens. He was still causing problems and his speed was ensuring that any open space ahead of him in the opponents’ half was dangerous territory. He put in a good cross with his left foot just to keep all parts of his armoury active.

For the first ten minutes of the second half his team were perhaps slightly in the ascendancy and in this period they went ahead in the game. He has a good first touch and aware that he is not the biggest, likes to move balls on to his team mates with his back to the opposition with a flick or light contact. If he can release the ball slightly earlier when he moves infield this will increase his threat as his speed means teams are happy to add extra men to block out his space.

The game started to move away from Ards at this point. Due to Marcus Kane going off for Glentoran, Alex O’Hanlon moved infield alongside Kym Nelson and the Glens now had two natural wide men on in their natural position. This seemed to free up their play as the two central midfielders were now more comfortable on the ball than Kane and Kelly.

As a result of this Frazer found himself now doing a lot more defensive work and has to be commended for one huge sprint back deep in his own half to stop a dangerous move where he got a good block in. However this defensive work came with a price as he pulled a Glentoran shirt in the box to enable Glentoran to equalise. Determined to make up for this he set off on another dazzling run though this time he pulled back to set up Reece Glendinning to put in a cross. Soon after perhaps with the last goal in his mind he tried a volley near the edge of the Glentoran box but Kerr who was never far away from him charged it down.

He had a bit of a half chance near the six yard area but Morris was out very quickly and it came to nothing. Ards had conceded a second penalty and he was still happy to argue the belated toss with the linesman but any personal frustration was in tandem with his team who were clearly not going to win the match. His last piece of flashing sword was his best run infield where he almost stopped and started a few times as he changed gears through the Glens’ midfield. His shot though did not appear clean and it drifted wide.

His final action was a poor defensive header though any annoyance he might have had with that was surely tempered by the stadium announcer giving him the Ards’ Man of the Match with which I wholeheartedly agreed. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him and feel he will excite fans as well as proving to be a dangerous threat for Ards.