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Ards sack manager Colin Nixon after Institute defeat

Paid the price: Colin Nixon
Paid the price: Colin Nixon

By Keith Bailie

Ards sacked manager Colin Nixon after last night's 3-0 defeat to Institute.

Nixon, who succeeded Niall Currie in December 2016, was relieved of his duties within half an hour of the full-time whistle at the Bangor Fuels Arena.

Institute's win left the north Down men still three points adrift at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership, with nearest rivals Newry City holding a game in hand.

Ards and Newry will clash in Bangor next Saturday, but who will be in the Ards dugout remains a mystery. Nixon's assistant and brother Darren has also left the club, along with first-team coach David Bryson. Coach, and former player, Dave Elebert remains on board.

Ards chairman Brian Adams said: "Ards Football Club can confirm that we have opted to part company with manager Colin Nixon. Colin's assistant Darren Nixon and coach David Bryson have also left the club. We would like to thank Colin for all his efforts over the last two years. We will confirm how we intend to proceed in due course."

In last night's other Premiership games, Crusaders overcame Coleraine 4-2 at Seaview while Dungannon Swifts defeated Warrenpoint Town 4-3 in a Stangmore Park thriller.

This season, Ards have struggled for form with just three wins in the league.

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Nixon’s last win came on December 29 when the Red & Blues defeated Dungannon Swifts 3-0.

They were knocked out of the Irish Cup by Championship Carrick Rangers in the fifth round.

It’s a far cry from Nixon’s first two seasons. In 2017, he guided Ards to eighth, which was followed by a ninth-place spot the following season.

Nixon even turned down the chance to manage his beloved Glentoran at the end of last year, signing a new deal with Ards.

Before learning of his dismissal, Nixon said: “I’ve no intention of resigning. I’m working every day to improve this club. I’ve worked my socks off under difficult circumstances and I will continue until told otherwise.”

Incredibly, that was not the only controversy of the night.

Institute originally listed Thomas McBride in their team before kick-off, before removing him. They intended to place him on the bench, but he was not listed on the Comet system.

McBride was then brought on in the second half to replace Jamie McIntyre.

The Ards board were not prepared to comment, but Institute are confident they have done nothing wrong, with interim manager Kevin Doherty stating: “We took Tommy off the team and put him on the bench. We told the referee and we informed Ards, so as far as we’re concerned we have done nothing wrong.”

Referee Tony Clarke also informed the media he believed Institute had not broken any rules.

Dean Curry gave Stute the lead in the 32nd minute. With Ards on top, Jake Morrow made it 2-0 from 25 yards on the 75th minute. Then, Ronan Doherty rounded off the scoring with a lovely curling goal in the 87th minute.

Ards: Johnston; Kerr, McNulty (McAleenan, 59 mins), Taylor, McClean (Bennett, 80 mins); E McAllister, Cherry (M Kelly, 77 mins), Tommons,  J Kelly, Nelson; McLellan. Subs not used: Mooney, Evans, McCawl, D McAllister.

Institute: Gallagher; Morrow, McLaughlin, D Curry, Jarvis (McBride, 82 mins); Dunne, Doherty, Wilson (Morrow, 67 mins), McIntyre; Brown (Moorehead, 72 mins), McCready. Subs not used: Kelly, S Curry, Smith.

Referee: Tony Clarke

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