Dungannon Swifts still searching for first win

Sam Johnston helped inspire Ards to their fifth clean sheet in six games in all competitions. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
Sam Johnston helped inspire Ards to their fifth clean sheet in six games in all competitions. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press

Grant Hutchinson believes Dungannon Swifts need a change in luck to get their season up and running.

Dungannon are bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership after a seventh game without a win.

Ards held out for a 0-0 draw on a frustrating day at Stangmore Park.

The Swifts were the better side and had the best chances, with Ryan Harpur missing a second half penalty.

Midfielder Hutchinson said they cannot afford to be too concerned by their plight.

“It was very frustrating. We had the better chances and played most of the football, but the ball just wouldn’t go in the net,” he said.

“But it was a great effort. It was a great response to the last couple of weeks and hopefully sets us up for a better few weeks ahead.”

Harpur’s penalty - which was saved by goalkeeper Sam Johnston - summed up a frustrating day for Dungannon in front of goal.

The Swifts, who had former boss Dixie Robinson back in the dugout, also hit the woodwork late on when Rhyss Campbell’s effort beat Johnston but clipped the crossbar.

Their last goal came at Glentoran on August 25.

Hutchinson believes a change in luck is needed, adding: “The main thing for us is scoring goals. We just can’t seem to get the rub of the green.

“We missed a penalty and hit the bar in the second half today.

“We just need one game for it to turn and hopefully that will lift confidence and get us on the right track.”

Hutchinson pointed to recent games, such as the 2-1 loss at Glentoran, and the 3-0 defeat at Linfield, where Dungannon have been better than the result suggested.

“I saw the stats against Linfield and it was 50-50 possession, we just had a couple of shots less,” he added.

“Against Glentoran, we got beaten as well, and we had more possession and more shots.

“It’s going to click some day and we’re going to get a good win.

“Hopefully that will set us up to get a good run going, because that’s all we need at the moment.”

Ards’ start has been a lot better, with a win and three draws from their seven games.

They have kept five clean sheets in six games in all competitions.

On Saturday goalkeeper Johnston played a big role in what proved a hard-earned point.

Boss Colin Nixon has been impressed with the 22-year-old’s performances.

“He has been with us for a while and has been really good in training - you see him every Tuesday and Thursday and he’s outstanding,” he said.

“He’s only 22, and we are hoping he’s going to be with us for a long time. But I have to give credit to the back four as well. They were brilliant today.”

The main negative for Ards was another injury, with midfielder Eamon McAllister pulling up around 10 minutes from the end.

Nixon added: “With the amount of injuries we’ve got, it’s threatening to become a crisis.”

DGN SWIFTS: Moore, Hegarty, Armstrong, Clucas, Hughes, McElroy (McMullan, 80), Harpur, O’Rourke, Patton (Lafferty, 60), Hutchinson. Campbell

Subs not used: Addis, Dykes, Wilson, Teggart, Lowe

ARDS: Johnston, Kerr, E McAllister (McAleenan, 81), Cherry (Mitchell, 70), McClean, Byers, Taylor, M Kelly, J Kelly, Nelson, Strain (Boyd, 77)

Subs not used: McLellan, D McAllister, Tommons, Mooney

Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)