Ards manager Colin Nixon’s decision to play winger Jonny Frazer as a centre-forward played dividends on Friday night.
Frazer hit a double as Ards crushed Newry City 4-0 at Clandeboye Park in a one-sided affair, with Mark Kelly and Kym Nelson also finding the net.
A delighted Colin Nixon said, “We brought Sean Noble in to fill that role, but he’s now out for the season, so we had to try something different. We gave Jonny a go through the middle and it worked really well. Him and Mark Kelly were devasting together with the two McAllister brothers playing well in the wide positions.
“We were dominate from start to finish, bar maybe a 15-minute period in the second half. It was a terrific performance with great individual displays all over the pitch, I really could not have asked more from the boys after three defeats.
“Despite the win, I’m still keen to bring in a replacement for Noble before the transfer window closes.
“I’m hopeful we will have one or two new signings before the transfer window closes.”
Newry manager Darren Mullen believes the heavy defeat must serve as a wake-up call for City.
“As Mickey Keenan said at half-time to the boys, “the honeymoon is over.”
“With no disrespect to Ards, they’re one of the lesser teams in the league. If we haven’t got the basic requirements for this sort of game, then it could get really embarrassing against one of the top teams.
“This is a wake call for us. We played extremely well against Glenavon. We would never disrespect Ards in any way, but maybe the boys didn’t think they had to reach the same level, but there are no easy games in this league and we found that out, here.
“If we play like that again, we’re in trouble.”
Mark Kelly gave Ards the lead with a back-post header in the 26th minute, before Jonny Frazer doubled the advantage in the 37th minute. Kym Nelson’s powerful free-kick added a third before half-time, before Frazer added another 13 minutes from time.
With the score at 3-0, Sam Johnston made a magnificent penalty save from Newry’s Stephen Hughes.
Tomorrow, Ards host Premier Intermediate League club Newington in the League Cup while Newry face Championship side Knockbreda.