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Danske Bank Premiership
Ards 1 Glenavon 0
Ards collected all of the points against Glenavon thanks to a late winner from Michael
Ards secured their Premiership status, in all but name, with a low key 1-0 win over
Glenavon in the final Danske Bank Premiership game before the split.
It was a dreary match where entertainment was at a premium, but Ards supporters weren’t
bothered too much at the finish. Technically the three points gained does not guarantee
anything, but in reality, only a mess-up of immense proportions will stop Ards from
strutting their stuff again among the big boys.
There was much pre-match hype that Glenavon would field a weakened team, with their
more important Irish Cup semi-final on the horizon. Although manager Gary Hamilton
did make a number of changes, his starting eleven was still a strong one.
There was a minute’s silence before kick-off and then a pause during the fifth minute
of the game for a minute’s applause in honour of Derry City’s Ryan McBride who passed
away last weekend.
When the action did get going it was the visitors who were the livelier, but it was
Ards who should have opened the scoring on 23 minutes.
Josh Doherty found room on the edge of the penalty and fired off a great shot that
looked destined for the back of the net, Taylor had other ideas though and finger
tipped the effort over the bar.
A lack of communication at the back between Hogg and Byers resulted in them clashing
into one another on the edge of the area. Fortunately for the duo Glenavon could
not take advantage and the danger was averted.
Mark Patton could have opened the scoring a minute into the new half, but he hit
the side netting from close range when he really should have done better.
In the 64th minute Patton thought he had broken the deadlock, but his headed effort
came back off the crossbar before being humped away.
Craig McMillen tried to alleviate the boredom with a long range effort with ten minutes
remaining. Seeing the keeper off his line he tried a speculative lob than went just
wide of the target.
It looked as if the game was going to peter out into a gormless draw until Ards were
awarded a penalty in the last minute, Simon Kelly was adjudged to have handled the
ball inside the area.
Michael Ruddy stepped up to take the spot kick but for some strange reason he changed
his customary style and hit the ball low to Taylor’s right. The keeper made a good
save, thankfully Ruddy stayed composed to blast home the rebound.