A goal early in the second half saw Coleraine beat Glentoran 1-0 at the Showgrounds this afternoon.
Glentoran went into this game against Coleraine without midfielders Kym Nelson (hamstring injury) and Fra McCaffrey, the latter having failed a late fitness test due to a groin injury. Jay Magee, who played for the Seconds in their 2-2 draw at Seaview in midweek was back in the squad however.
The home team started quite brightly with both Mark Miskimmin and Ruairi Harkin having attempts off target. Glentoran scored in their first real foray forward, Curtis Allen superbly finding the bottom corner of the net only to have his ‘goal’ ruled out for a marginal offside. On 25 minutes Coleraine should have been reduced to 10 men. Miskimmin was guilty of a horrific challenge on Willie Garrett, the incident happening directly in front of the 4th official and with the referee close by. Referee Stephen Wallace opted for a yellow card as Garrett was carried from the field. Jay Magee replaced him. On the half hour mark Allen was presented with another opportunity to open the scoring. A poor clearance by Stephen Douglas hit Marcus Kane and fell straight to Allen. With the defence in disarray and the keeper out of position Allen inexplicably dragged his shot wide.
Early in the second half Darren McCauley got the better of Niall Henderson but his cross was volleyed wide by Harkin. It was a warning for Glentoran but one which wasn’t heeded! On 53 minutes McCauley beat Henderson again on the left but this time Ian Parkhill was on hand to score from 12 yards. Glentoran adopted a more direct approach and almost levelled when Jay Magee got on the end of a long throw from Johnny Addis; Michael Doherty getting a touch to send the ball over the bar. As the Glens pushed for an equaliser Coleraine had several chances to increase their lead on the breakaway but only once did they test Morris, substitute McGinty bring a great save out of the Glens keeper on 75 minutes. With less than 10 minutes remaining Curtis Allen was unlucky to see his 25 yard free-kick smash back off the crossbar.
All in all a disappointing performance. Glentoran had the better of the first half but didn’t take their chances and paid the penalty for it.
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Highlights on BBC Sport NI HERE
Glentoran: Morris (capt), Henderson, McCullough, Garrett, Addis, McAlorum, Kane, Gordon, Scullion, Stewart & Allen.
Subs: Magee for Garrett (25), McKee for Scullion (63) & O'Hanlon for Kane (72).