A Stephen O’Flynn double helped Glentoran to a hard-fought win over the club managed by their record appearance holder Colin Nixon.
Nixon’s charges Ards fell behind to two early goals from O’Flynn. A Kevin Bradley goal late in the first half gave the Red & Blues hope, but Gary Haveron’s men held-out to claim an important three points, with Curtis Allen making it 3-1 in the third minute of stoppage time.
Glentoran came charging out of the blocks, creating a chance in the opening 10 seconds. Striker Curtis Allen fired a 20-yard volley just past the post as Ards failed to deal with a ball into the box. It was a sign of things to come.
In the 12th minute Stephen O’Flynn found a yard of space outside the area, controlling a clearance on his chest before firing a low half volley past Ards goalkeeper Aaron Hogg and into the bottom corner from around 20 yards.
Former Derry City striker O’Flynn had his second goal in the 19th minute. Ards failed to clear a left-wing cross with Emmet Friars’ clearing header, only reaching O’Flynn. Again, the striker controlled the ball before firing a half-volley past Hogg from inside the area. Gary Haveron’s men were well worth their two-goal advantage.
But Ards found a way back into the game in the 34th minute. With Glentoran unable to successfully clear their lines, defender Kevin Bradley hit an in-swinging cross from the right-flank that evaded everybody, before nestling in the back of the net. It was a stroke of fortune the Reds & Blues desperately required.
In the second half, Ards pushed hard for an equaliser by Colin Nixon’s men were unable to create a genuine goalscoring opportunity. With Ards going for an equaliser, the Glens picked them off on the counter-attack in second half stoppage time and Aaron Hogg parried an Aaron Harmon shot, which allowed Curtis Allen to score from close range.
Ards: Hogg; Hall (77 Hughes), Friars, Bradley, Hogg; McComb (60 G. McMullan), Cherry, Tommons, McAllister; Liggett, Shevlin (64 Keke)
Subs Not Used: Arthurs, Brennan
Glentoran: Morris; Ferrin (27 Birney), Addis Magee, Redman; Caldwell, Harmon, Kane (79 Gordon), Lavery; O’Flynn, Allen (90 Smith)
Subs Not Used: Nelson, Jallow
Ref: Keith Kennedy