Glenavon 2 - Ards 0
By Jana McCabe
Without a point in six games, Ards travelled to Lurgan to pick up some points before it’s too late in their relegation battle. Johnny Taylor made a welcome return to the centre of defence alongside debutant Damien McNulty, with Eoghan McCawl also making his debut.
After a slow start to the game, in the thirteenth minute Brendan Bennett’s shot was well saved by the Glenavon captain Tuffey before, in the twentieth minute, Gary Hamilton’s clever pass led to Kym Nelson making a crucial intervention to stop a one on one opportunity for Stephen Murray.
In the twenty third minute Hamilton failed to find the target with a volley to the disappointment of the Lurgan Blues. For Ards, Callum Byers' well-placed header was well saved in the twenty sixth minute, before debutant Damien McNulty's header from a Gareth Tommons corner was also saved by the Glenavon keeper.
Josh Daniels' header from a Murray pass skimmed past the left hand post in the thirty first minute, while Murray was in action again minutes later when his volley was just wide of the right hand post.
Connor McCloskey’s curling corner then saw Murray miss a free header to the relief of the Red and Blue army. In first half additional time Gareth Tommons' corner was safely gathered by Tuffey and the half ended 0-0.
In the fifty first minute Daniels' pass to ex-Ards loanee Cameron Stewart saw Nelson again make a great block before, in the fifty seventh minute, Hamilton thought he’d scored the opener when his knock on found the back of the net but the goal was disallowed as Hamilton was ruled to have fouled Johnston.
However, in the the sixtieth minute, Daniels' great pass found Stewart whose first touch found the back of the net to make it 1-0. Daniels continued to be dangerous when his shot made Sam Johnston produce a fine save shortly afterwards.
The home side then doubled their lead in the seventieth minute when goalscorer Stewart was brought down by Johnston, with Conor McCloskey’s penalty finding the bottom left corner of the Ards net to make it 2-0.
In the eighty third minute Nelson’s run and strike from outside the box was just wide of the left hand post as Ards looked for a late consolation goal. Ards dominated the rest of the game but lacked the finishing touch that was needed so the game ended 2-0.
Ards remain bottom of the table three points adrift from eleventh-placed Newry and now fourteen points from automatic safety. Friday night football sees Institute visit the Bangor Fuels Arena as Ards continue their relegation battle.
XI: Sam Johnston, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor, Damien McNulty, Eamon McAllister, Josh Kelly, Gareth Tommons, Kym Nelson, Brendan Bennett, Eoghan McCawl and Darren Henderson
Used Subs: Mark Kelly (for Josh Kelly), Kyle Cherry (for Brendan Bennett) and Michael McLellan (for Darren Henderson).
Unused Subs: Jason Mooney, Craig McClean and Adam McAleenan
Yellow cards- Callum Byers, Kyle Cherry, Kym Nelson and Damien McNulty