GLENTORAN defender Sean Ward admits he wants to prove the doubters wrong.
Ten-man Glens catapulted into third place in the Danske Bank Premiership table following a gutsy showing against Coleraine at the Oval on Saturday.
Their task was made much more difficult when midfielder Mark Clarke was dismissed after as nasty challenge on Ruairi Harkin on 37 minutes.
But Eddie Patterson’s team are playing with a renewed vigour this season.
Although they rode their luck on a few occasions in a frenetic second half, they almost sneaked three points in the final seconds when Andy Waterworth had the ball whipped from his toe by David Ogilby’s late lunge when the big striker looked a certain scorer.
“We are still unbeaten and slowly but surely we are surprising teams,” said stand-in skipper Ward.
“We were written off by many people before the start of the season. We were hurt by things that were said even before a ball was kicked. We want to prove them wrong.
“Hopefully, we can use the negative publicity in a positive way. As a team, we are keeping our heads down – we have our own internal expectations.”
Coleraine certainly upped the tempo after the break, but lacked a killer instinct when it mattered.
Ogilby’s free kick was superbly beaten away by Elliott Morris before Stephen Lowry’s spectacular volley crashed off the post.
Morris again displayed his class by pawing out a vicious Aaron Boyd effort, while Curtis Allen shamefully headed wide of a gaping goal in the final minute.
“It was difficult when we were reduced to 10 men,” added Ward.
“They had a lot of the ball in the second half, but never really broke us down. They did have a few opportunities late in the game.
“It was backs against the wall at times, but the boys stood up well. We look at is as a point gained.”
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney was happy with the outcome.
“Glentoran have made a good start to the season and you can see why,” he said.
“They move and pass the ball well. I told the players I was delighted with the application and their energy. We just lacked that wee bit of quality which could have won us the game.
“I wouldn’t say it was points lost – it’s never easy coming to the Oval. Any point picked up here is always a good point. On our second half showing, we probably deserved to win it.
“We’ve had a tough start to the season in terms of fixtures, so to be up around the top of the table after seven games is fantastic. Results are the thing that we are all judged on, but I’m still concerned about the performance. I still feel that we have something left in the tank.
“We are not firing on all cylinders. It’s a good sign, because if we are getting good results without being fully on the money, hopefully we can kick into the final gear in weeks to come.
“It would be great if we are in this position with seven games to go, instead of seven games in.
“Linfield are undoubtedly the benchmark, but it’s a credit to all the teams the work they are doing to try and close the gap. It can only be good for the league.”
Glens chief Eddie Patterson had no complaints about Clark’s dismissal following a rash two-footed challenge on Harkin.
“The referee called it right,” he added.
“The big lad (Clarke) lunged in. Although he led with one leg, the other one was off the ground. That is deemed dangerous play.
“It’s harsh on Mark. It looked worse than it was. I don’t even think he touched the player (Harkin) – they guy made the most of it.”