Glentoran won their first three point haul of the season against Warrenpoint Town at a blustery Oval this afternoon. Manager Eddie Patterson rang the changes after Wednesday night’s defeat against Linfield with Jay Magee, Marcus Kane, Jim O’Hanlon, David Howland and Curtis Allen all drafted into the starting eleven. With both first and second choice ‘keepers Elliott Morris and Aaron Hogg out injured last gasp signing from Islandmagee Chris Keenan also came in over six years after his one and only previous appearance for the Glens.
Glentoran had the better of the opening 20 minutes and Warrenpoint ‘keeper Jonathan Parr almost gifted the home side a goal as he failed to gather a David Scullion corner after 8 minutes. On 16 minutes Jim O’Hanlon fired a good chance over the bar after good build up play involving David Howland and Niall Henderson and shortly afterwards Kym Nelson was denied a goal when his header from a corner was well saved by Parr, the young midfielder blasting his follow up effort wide. However it was Warrenpoint who took the lead on 21 minutes against the run of play. Stephen McDonnell’s left wing corner was whipped in to the near post where Stephen Hughes’s deft header went flying into the back of the net.
Warrenpoint were playing a high defensive line against the stiff breeze and this proved to be their downfall. Their lead lasted just 10 minutes as Curtis Allen ghosted through to beat the offside trap and sent a beautiful lob over Parr and into the back of the net from 18 yards. The Glens then began to take control of the game with both David Howland and Fra McCaffrey missing good chances to take the lead. However the breakthrough came on 38 minutes when Curtis Allen darted down the right to once again pierce the visiting back line and sent in a low cross to give Fra McCaffrey an easy finish. The Glens almost added to their lead five minutes from the break as Niall Henderson’s long range effort was scrambled clear by Parr.
The first half hour of the second period was a turgid affair with neither ‘keeper seriously troubled and both sides struggling to find their passes in the blustery conditions. The game then suddenly sprang into life with the Glens’ slender lead threatened as Warrenpoint’s Stephen McCabe brought a good save from Keenan with a twenty yard drive. A minute later McCabe must have thought he had equalised when he thumped the ball towards the bottom corner from 12 yards, only to see Keenan dive full length to bring off a stunning one handed save and then smother the rebound. This seemed to spark the Glens into life as David Scullion sent substitute Jordan Stewart away down the left and his tantalising cross found Curtis Allen only for the number 9 to send his close range effort over the bar. The lead remained a fragile one and Warrenpoint almost grabbed the equaliser with 6 minutes left as Stephen McDonnell’s shot from 20 yards clipped the top of Keenan’s cross bar.
The visitors continued to push forward in search of their first point of the season but in the final minute this enabled substitute Stephen McAlorum to find space and time in midfield. His pass sent Curtis Allen clear and he drove the ball under Parr to grab his second goal of the game and seal the 3 points for the Glens. It was something of a relief for the fans as the final score line somewhat flattered the home side and they will be looking for a more convincing performance as they make the long journey to Fermanagh to take on Ballinamallard United next Saturday.
Match highlights on BBC Sport NI HERE
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Chris Keenan, Niall Henderson, Jay Magee, Barry Holland, Marcus Kane (sub Steven McCullough 60 mins), David Scullion, Kym Nelson, David Howland (Captain) (sub Stephen McAlorum 60 mins), Jim O’Hanlon (sub Jordan Stewart 68 mins), Fra McCaffrey, Curtis Allen.
Footnote: We would like to thank John and Tom Done our good friends from "The Wirral" for the generous donation to Glentoran FC. John and Tom are avid Glentoran fans and are seen at The Oval as often as travel permits having coffee in the Milkbar and helping out with whatever jobs Ruth throws at them.
Ruth, Kevin and the bigger Glentoran family hope to see you back at the Oval very soon....