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Glentoran moved to the top of the Danske Bank Irish Premiership table on goal difference after they overcame newly promoted Ards at The Oval on Tuesday night.
The East Belfast club are operating under severe financial restraints but they shrugged off their off the field problems – as well as the loss of influential midfielder Sean Ward and prolific striker Andrew Waterworth to Linfield – to put five past Ards with five separate players getting on the score sheet.
David Scullion gave the Glens the perfect start as he latched on to a long clearance to coolly lob Graeme McKibbin in the Ards goal on nineteen minutes. The visitors held it to a single goal deficit until the 58th minute when Callum Birney thundered a loose ball from a corner into the roof of the net. Glentoran were now playing with real confidence and sealed the points with quarter of an hour remaining when Richard Clarke’s deft header finished off a superb passing move from Eddie Patterson’s men.
Jordan Hughes and Niall Henderson added further goals to cap a satisfying evening for Glentoran who jumped above Cliftonville on goal difference to lead the division with five games played.
The Champions suffered their second home defeat in four days as Coleraine deservedly took the spoils at Solitude on Monday with their first league win of the season. The Bannsiders have recorded four draws so far this campaign but Stephen Lowry put them on course for victory when his deflected shot flew past a helpless Conor Devlin on nineteen minutes.
The game was effectively wrapped up in a five minute spell after the break as Stephen Carson was well placed to hit home Lowry’s parried effort and Gary Browne slotted past Devlin to move Coleraine, albeit temporarily, into third place in the table.
They were leapfrogged by a number of teams on Tuesday, most notably by Ballymena United who scored late on to bring Portadown back to earth after their humbling of Cliftonville the Friday previous. Portadown dominated the first half and should have had more than Darren Murray’s 21st minute goal to take into the break and were duly punished for their tardiness in front of goal when Michael McLellan punished his old club by heading home the equaliser on 52 minutes.
Murray had a great opportunity to grab a second midway through the half but flashed his header wide from six yards. Once again Ballymena made the visitors pay as McLellan was brought down in the box and Alan Teggart stepped up to give United their third win of the season.
Glenavon are fourth as they came away from Ferney Park with a 2-0 win over Ballinamallard United. David Rainey opened the scoring for the Lurgan Blues on the hour mark with a sweetly struck volley before Kyle Neill guaranteed the points with a headed effort with seven minutes remaining.
Goals from Michael Carvill and Niall Quinn arrested Linfield’s alarming slump in form as they overcame Warrenpoint Town to move off the bottom of the league and register their first league win of the season while Dungannon Swifts and Crusaders played out a 1-1 draw at Seaview.