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Ards find their groove in shock hammering of Lurgan Blues

Ards 4 Glenavon 0

By Keith Bailie

Out of form Ards shocked Glenavon with an impressive display at the Bangor Fuels Arena, defeating the Lurgan Blues 4-0.

The Red & Blues knocked Gary Hamilton's men out of the Bet McLean League Cup in an excellent performance, courtesy of a brace from Jonny Frazer, Michael Ruddy's penalty and a tap-in from Guillaume Keke.

Both Gary Hamilton and Colin Nixon made a series of changes from Saturday, with one eye on this weekend's fixtures.

Nixon gave a first start to teenage forwards Jonah Mitchell and Ben Arthurs, with fellow Under 20s star Joshua Kelly starting in midfield.

His charges put Glenavon under pressure in the early stages and, from a Ruddy corner-kick, Callum Byers, Johnny Taylor and Gareth Tommons all had chances to turn the ball into the net, but they misfired.

Ards grabbed a surprise lead in the 26th minute when the lively Ben Arthurs ran down the right flank before pulling the ball back for Mitchell, who was clipped by Glenavon defender Caolan Marron.

Left-back Ruddy stepped up to the mark and struck his spot kick high into the net - his second goal since returning from a broken foot earlier this month.

Ards extended their lead five minutes later. The speedy Frazer burst clear of the Glenavon offside trap, kept his cool and slotted the ball between the legs of the advancing James Taylor.

Mitchell, son of former Irish League star Philip, could have scored a goal of his own before the break, but his low drive forced Taylor to make a good save down to his left.

Glenavon came close to pulling a goal back before the half-time whistle when Rhys Marshall sent a volley just past Sam Johnston's post from around 10 yards.

Unimpressed with his team's first half display, Hamilton introduced the experienced figures of Mark Patton and Andrew Hall with the aim of reinvigorating the Lurgan Blues.

However, it made little difference.

Ards added to their lead in the 72nd minute when the visitors failed to clear a bouncing ball and Frazer rose above Taylor to send a looping header into the air and over the line from inside the area.

The Red & Blues added a fourth goal in stoppage time to put some gloss on the scoreline when Glenavon once again failed to clear a corner kick.

French forward Keke was on hand to turn the ball home with his right foot from inside the six-yard box.

The shock success sends Ards into the last eight of the League Cup and gives them a lift ahead of Friday's league encounter with Warrenpoint Town.

Ards: Johnston, Glendinning, Taylor, Byers, Ruddy, Frazer (McLellan, 82 mins), Tommons, Kelly, McMillen, Mitchell (McAleenan, 86 mins) Arthurs (Keke, 75 mins).

Unused Subs: Hall, Hanley

Glenavon: Taylor, Marshall, Marron, Doyle, Singleton; Daniels (Hall, 45 mins), McGrory, Burns, Foley (Patton, 45 mins), Griffin, Jenkins (McCavitt, 63 mins). Unused subs: O'Mahoney, Norton

Man of the Match: Joshua Kelly

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

Belfast Telegraph

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