Ards' failure to find their shooting boots leaves boss Nixon frustrated
Ards boss Colin Nixon believes his team are now beginning to suffer from their inadequacy in front goal.
They haven't managed to hit the net in Danske Bank Premiership action since Johnny Frazer's 78th minute effort in the 4-0 drubbing of Newry City on August 24 . This was five games ago.
On the plus side, Nixon's boys hadn't conceded since a 2-1 defeat by Ballymena United the previous week. That impressive run was brought to an abrupt end in the 2-0 midweek loss to Glenavon when Stephen Murray confidently tucked away a ninth-minute penalty.
And, just to pile on the agony, former Ards man Andrew Mitchell gobbled up a goal of the season contender later in the night.
"I think, if I'm being realistic and honest, our failure in front of goal is beginning to hurt us," said Nixon. "Of course, we have so many injuries and that hasn't helped but we just can't put the ball in the net.
"It's frustrating because for large parts of the game (against Glenavon), I thought we played well. The players are working hard and I can't ask much more from them."
Nixon is hoping the goal drought will come to an end when his troops make the trip to Solitude to face an erratic Cliftonville today.
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"It's never an easy place to go, even though Cliftonville have been blowing hot and cold," added Nixon. "It's a matter of dusting ourselves down after the disappointment of the Glenavon defeat and going again.
"Unfortunately, the ball is not sticking up front for us and I'm not being critical of the boys we have. We are all doing our best.
"We had numerous opportunities of getting shots away and we didn't do it. I can't be too critical because the boys are putting in a shift in every game.
"Sometimes you must accept defeat graciously."
Nixon is adamant his team were harshly done by against Glenavon when referee Lee Tavinder pointed to the spot early on when Josh Daniels went down under a challenge from Josh Kelly, who certainly appeared to get a touch on the ball.
"Our unbeaten run had to come to an end some time," added Nixon. "But to lose it the way we did was bad. The referee was the only person in the ground that seen it as a penalty kick.
"He'll watch it back and realise he made a mistake, but you can't speak to these guys, you get nothing back from them. He gave a penalty that wasn't."
Cliftonville vs Ards
Danske Bank Premiership:
Solitude, Today, 3pm