Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton plays down Glenavon chances

By Gordon Hanna

Glenavon 4 Ards 1: Gary Hamilton is too long in the tooth to get carried away by Glenavon's impressive start to the season.

Four wins and two draws from seven starts have the re-built Lurgan outfit rubbing shoulders with the elite at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership

Only a single point separates them from pacesetters Cliftonville who are next up at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

But even after goals from Guy Bates – his eighth of the season – David Rainey, Andy McGrory and Andy Hunter's own goal chalked up a third league win in a row, Glenavon player-boss Hamilton moved quickly to arrest any over- the-top euphoria.

"We have four games coming up against Cliftonville, Crusaders, Linfield and Portadown from which we got nothing last season," he recalled, "so anything we get this time round will be an improvement."

An impressive 21 goals in seven games is a mighty fine scoring ration and bodes well but Hamilton cautions: "If we can keep goals conceded down to one we'll have a chance because we're always capable of scoring."

However, on this occasion four flattered Hamilton's men against an Ards side who had eight regulars missing.

They also lost goalkeeper Simon Steele in the warm-up and had Ross Arthurs taken to hospital suffering from concussion.

Graeme McKibben, whose heroics helped Ards gain promotion, took over and was lucky not to have conceded inside two minutes, but the referee ruled out Rainey's 'goal' for an alleged infringement, although McKibben appeared to collide with one of his own defenders, attempting to clear Gareth McKeown's long throw.

Ards went straight up the field and when McKeown felled Neill Dougan it was left to Scott Davidson to fire home the penalty. Bates levelled, also from the spot, four minutes later after Andy Smith fouled Ciaran Martyn.

Rainey volleyed the home side in front after 25 minutes and after surviving an early second half onslaught, McGrory increased Glenavon's lead on 71 minutes.

It was a mere tap-in after Bates' shot came back off a post, hit the keeper on the head and ran invitingly along the line. And just to compound Ards' misery Hunter turned McKeown's cross into his own net to make it four.

Hamilton was magnanimous enough to admit: "Ards definitely didn't deserve to be beaten by three goals that's for sure.

"At one stage a great clearance by Winkie (Murphy) prevented it from being 2-2 and we went up the pitch and made it 3-1.

"That's the difference between winning and losing."

Rival boss Naill Currie said: "This has been the story of our season. We conceded really poor goals again.

"We were sitting well in the game and for 20-25 minutes of the second half dominated the game then shot ourselves in the foot."

Belfast Telegraph

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