Glentoran’s poor start to the season continued as they crashed out of the Toals Senior Shield at the first hurdle. Their tie against H&W Welders finished scoreless after extra time and it was the Welders who went into the quarter-final draw with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory. In truth it was no more than Glentoran deserved with Michael Dougherty having perhaps his easiest ever night between the posts at the Oval.
The first half was a dull affair. Stephen McAlorum’s 25 yard free kick hit the crossbar in the 3rd minute and Calum Birney’s header from a Johnny Smith corner forced Dougherty to tip the ball over the top on 27 minutes. That was as good as it got for the home side. In the 25th minute Scott McMillan’s shot was cleared off the line as the Welders threatened to go in front. Scott Davidson, Josh Cahoon and Paul Dickson also had chances for the NIFL Championship leaders but Elliott Morris, making his 585th appearance for the Glens, was relatively untroubled.
Morris was in action early in the second half. George Gray lost possession in midfield and the Welders broke down the left flank. Chris Middleton met the cross and his header looked destined for the bottom corner but Morris got down sharply to turn the ball around the post. Johnny Smith, making his second start for Glentoran, continued to look the biggest threat for the home side but his 55th minute free kick was just too high. Smith had another chance 15 minutes from time. A superb cross field ball from Johnny Addis picked out Curtis Allen. He chested the ball into the path of Smith but his shot flew wide of the target. Two minutes from time substitute Johnny McCaw had a great opportunity to win the game for Glentoran when a through ball left him with a one on one situation with Dougherty. Unfortunately the youngster’s effort hit the keeper’s legs and the chance was gone.
Goalless after 90 minutes saw the game move into extra time. Again both sides struggled to create anything likely to break the deadlock and so we moved to a penalty shoot out. Davidson was first up for the Welders and his shot was saved by Morris. Advantage Glentoran. Allen and Birney scored for Glentoran and Galbraith and Middleton netted for the Welders. Fra McCaffrey then blazed high and wide giving Armstrong the chance to level things up which he duly did. Smith kept his nerve to score for the Glens and Cahoon gave the visitors a 4-3 lead. Johnny Addis was fifth man up for Glentoran but Dougherty kept his effort out. It was unfortunate for Addis as he, along with his centre back partner Birney, Elliott Morris and Johnny Smith were the only players who put in, what could be considered as, an acceptable performance. Glentoran now travel to Dungannon Swifts on Saturday. The team are just 5 points off bottom spot in the Danske Bank Premiership and 12 points behind leaders Linfield. A significant improvement is required!
Glentoran: Morris, Holland, McCullough, Birney, Addis, McAlorum (capt), Gordon, Smith, Scullion, McMenamin & Allen.
Subs: Gray for Holland (29), McCaw for Scullion (77) & McCaffrey for McMenamin (77).