The battle for eighth didn’t quite catch the imagination of the general public like the title decider at Solitude, but Ards and Glentoran played out a hard-fought draw at The Oval.
Goals from Kyle Cherry and Eric Foley saw the game finished all-square, which meant Ards finished above Glentoran for the first time since 1994/95.
Glentoran had the opportunity to steal eighth place from Ards in the 75th minute, only for Aaron Hogg to save Jonathan Smith’s penalty-kick.
Glentoran almost grabbed the lead in the 18th when Jonathan Smith’s sweet 25-yard free-kick cannoned off the underside of Aaron Hogg’s crossbar and bounced to safety.
The Glens struck the woodwork again, in the 26th minute, when left-back Ross Redman burst into the Ards area. The full-back placed a low shot past Hogg, only to see the ball bounce off the inside of the post and clear.
Ards grabbed the lead on the half-hour mark. A superb in-swinging Craig McMillen corner-kick was nodded home by an unmarked Kyle Cherry from around six-yards.
The Glens equalised in bizarre circumstance in the 72nd. Sneaky striker Curtis Allen hide behind Hogg as he rolled the ball forward, to kick up the pitch. Allen robbed Hogg of the ball before steering a shot towards goal, that was dramatically cleared off the line by Johnny Taylor. From the resulting corner, Eric Foley headed Glentoran level.
Glentoran were awarded a penalty in the 75th minute, when Hogg cynically fouled Karl Hamill with the striker bearing down on goal. The home support believed referee Ross Dunlop should have red carded Hogg, but he didn’t produce a card. From the spot, Hogg redeemed himself by saving Smith’s spot-kick.
Glentoran: Nelson; Sterling, Ferrin, Addis (69 O’Neill), Redman; Jallow, Foley, Kane, Delaney (58 Hamill); Smith (87 Novo), Allen
Subs Not Used: Cafolla, O’Flynn
Ards: Hogg; Hall, Byers, Taylor, Ruddy; McMillen (86 Mitchell), Cherry (89 Arthurs), Kelly, McAllister; McComb (86 Liggett), Keke
Subs Not Used: McAleenan, Hughes
Ref: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)