Colin Nixon’s Ards last night torpedoed any threats of relegation with this deserved win over Glentoran at the Oval.
The County Down club may have lost their previous four games – and shipped an alarming 10 goals in their last two outings, but they turned in a performance of grit and passion which helped them to the second win at the East Belfast venue in space three months.
Guillaume Keke shot the visitors into the lead before veteran Glens’ goalkeeper Elliott Morris dropped a David McAllister corner kick over his own line.
Although Curtis Allen pulled a goal back, it was too little to late for Gary Haveron’s flops.
Glentoran boss Gary Haveron and the Board of Directors came under fierce criticism at the finish with an angry mob calling for the Board to resign.
The Glens carved out the first tangible opening on 15 minutes with Ross Redman’s deep cross being met by Robbie McDaid at the back post, but goalkeeper Sam Johnston managed to get a glove to the effort to paw clear.
The home fans were on their feet claiming a penalty when McDaid appeared to be caught by the outstretched boot of Johnny Taylor, but referee Evan Boyce wasn’t interested.
Ards began to get a foothold in the game and were right out of luck on 22 minutes.
Reece Glendinning’s cross was met by little Jonah Mitchell, who could only direct his header over the top.
But the action quickly switched to the other end, with James Knowles whipping in a sublime cross from the right which was met by Curtis Allen, but his downward header bounced off the turf and over the crossbar – and incredible miss!
With the clock ticking down to the interval, big Cameron Stewart, on loan from Linfield, headed a David McAllister over the crossbar, before Keke curled a 20 yard drive just past the Glentoran post much to the relief of Elliott Morris.
Ards rocked the Belfast side by taking the lead just before the hour.
Keke gobbled up a flick on from Stewart and, having sprung the offside trap, cut in from the left for fire a low drive beyond the despairing lunge of Morris.
Keke then had a low drive beaten away at the base of the post by Morris. But when McAllister whipped in the corner kick from the right,
Morris somehow dropped the ball over the line to gift Ards a second goal and that mistake had left the Glens with a mountain to climb and they failed to do that.
Allen managed to throw the Glens a life line with 12 minutes left, charging through the middle to roll the ball expertly under the body of Johnston.
And, with time running out, the goalkeeper produced a wonderful reaction save to keep out a blistering free kick from James Knowles.
It was the signal for the boo boys to go into action, calling for the Board to resign as the players off the pitch.
GLENTORAN: Morris, Kane, Birney (Garrett 55, McNicholl 72), Addis, Allen, Davidson (McMahon 61), Kerr, Knowles, O’Hanlon, Redman, McDaid.
Unused subs: McGuigan, Gordon.
ARDS: Johnston, Byers, Elebert, Taylor, Glendinning, Mitchell, Kelly, Cherry (Davidson 86), McAllister, Keke (McLellan 80), Stewart.
Unused subs: McKenna, Kelly, McAleenan.
REFEREE: Evan Boyce.