Glentoran struggled to match recent performances this afternoon in their Danske Bank Premiership match at Seaview against Crusaders and eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat. After a reasonably bright start, The Glens were hit by a long ball over the top which was finished by Jordan Owens on the 7th minute. The Glentoran defence will be disappointed to see a long ball get over the top so easily but nobody can deny credit to Owens who finished powerfully and accurately in off the post.
Going a goal down early against a team as disciplined and physical as Crusaders is always going to leave an uphill struggle and that's exactly what it was for the rest of the first half. On a tight pitch like Seaview, it is always difficult to play football on the ground and as the game continued the midfield were being by-passed for longer balls up front. This made it difficult for Andy Waterworth to use his devastating pace on the Crusaders defence and even harder for the midfield to dictate play as we've done so well so far this season. The only chances which Glentoran offered were a tame shot from Stephen McAlorum and a decent move concluding with Marcus Kane firing over the bar.
On 36th minute just when it started to look as though Glentoran would make it to half time just one goal down, Crusaders struck again after Jay Magee failed to deal with a cross to back post. Gary McCutcheon connected on the volley and the ball broke kindly for Owens on the edge of the 6 yard box to tap home making it 2-0 to The Crues.
Jason Hill was substitued shortly before half time with a serious looking injury and was replaced by Stuart Elliott. The pain on Hill's face was clear for all to see and he later left the ground on crutches with the club fearing he might be out for a long period of time.
Colin Nixon came on at half time to replace Jay Magee and immediately the tempo of play was quicker as The Glens searched for a way back into the game. Elliott took up a central role whilst Waterworth moved on to the wing to offer support. Stuart Elliott had an opportunity to give the side hope with a free kick 20 yards out however it was deflected wide for a corner. The Glens best chance of the game came through Sean Ward who jinxed into the opposition box only to unluckily see his left foot shot come off the post on 60 minutes.
John McGuigan was Glentoran's final substitute for Richard Clarke but by that time the fight had seemed to go out of the players. When Andy Waterworth shot over from a Ward cross on the 83rd minute, it seemed the last chance to take something from the game has passed. Gary McCutcheon went close in stoppage time with a curling shot to widen Crusaders margin.
With today's defeat, Glentoran slip to 4th behind high flying Ballinamallard Utd who recorded a shock win at Windsor Park against Linfield. The defeat has seen us slip 6 points behind leaders Cliftonville. Today's result was disappointing however Glentoran fans will be hoping it to only be a setback in the encouraging work being done by the team so far this season. We look to bounce back with a win in the Irn-Bru League Cup on Tuesday night away to Institute.
Highlights from BBC Sport NI HERE
Glentoran: Elliott Morris, Sean Ward (captain), Jay Magee, Jimmy Callacher, Jason Hill, Stephen McAlorum, David Howland, Richard Clarke, Marcus Kane, Jim O'Hanlon, Andy Waterworth
Subs: Stuart Elliott for Jason Hill (43 mins), Colin Nixon for Jay Magee (45 mins), John McGuigan for Richard Clarke (77 mins)