Loughgall lost their sixth league game in a row but can be buoyed by a much improved performance on the road to league leaders Ards.
Boss Colin Malone welcomed back Adam Rodgers, Jeff Brady and Dale Noble back into the starting line-up while there was a place for John Guy on the substitute’s bench after a lengthly lay-off.
The Villagers were behind within seven minutes as ‘keeper Gareth Buchanan fouled Neil Dougan inside the penalty area and James Cully successfully found the bottom corner with the resultant spot-kick.
Loughgall were coping well with the terrible weather conditions and pitch surface; on 23 minutes Wes Boyle picked up on a loose ball, 25 yards from goal, and worked space to fire narrowly wide. Three minutes later Boyle dispossessed ex-Loughgall player Andy Smith before setting up Dale Noble for his first goal since his January move who netted at the second attempt.
The Villagers went in at the break in the lead when Dale Malone was tripped in the penalty area in the 39th minute allowing Boyle the opportunity to fire home from 12 yards.
And Loughgall missed a great opportunity to extend their lead four minutes after the interval when Jeff Brady latched onto Greg Hall’s mistake caused by the horrific conditions. Brady raced down on goal but was disappointed when his weak shot was held by ‘keeper Graham McKibben.
Ards scored an equaliser two minutes later when Kyle McDowell’s 20-yard volley found its way into the bottom corner despite the best efforts of the diving Buchanan. The home side piled on the pressure in the search of a third and were rewarded in the 74th minute when Ryan Moffatt’s fantastic cross was met by Paul McDowell’s accurate header from close range.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Lavery (McGarry 15m), Rodgers, Copeland, Stewart, Finlay (Carson 83m), Malone, Ferguson, Noble, Boyle, Brady. Unused subs: Guy, Lindsay.
Ards: McKibben, Hall, Moffatt (Cockcroft 76m), J Cully, D Cully, McMillen (Burrow 53m), Smith, Arthurs, Dougan, K McDowell, P McDowell. Unused subs: Nixon, Browne, McIlhagga.