A youthful Glentoran side cruised into the semi-finals of the Co. Antrim Shield this evening at the Bangor Fuels Arena with a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Alistair Roy surely must have created some sort of record for the Glens tonight. It's very unlikely that anyone has scored twice in the opening three minutes in a game in our 140 year history! The first came with just 55 seconds on the clock. Ally Roy picked up a ball from Kirk McLaughlin near the right corner of the 18-yard box and cut inside defender Chris Crane before firing a low shot in at the near post; keeper Jason Craughwell having no chance.
On 3 minutes it was 2-nil. This time Ally Roy collected a pass from Terry Devlin on the opposite corner of the area, again cutting inside Luke McKendry before unleashing a second powerful drive past the home side's keeper. Jason Craughwell was in action again on 11 minutes, tipping Danny Purkis's 20-yard effort over the bar. Glentoran were in total control at this point. The young side, with the comfort of a two goal cushion, playing some lovely football and always looking that they could add to their advantage.
There was a scare on 18 minutes when a cross from Conall Young on the right bounced off the top of the crossbar and behind for a goal kick. Ards might have had another chance on 21 minutes but the ball into the area towards Daniel Reynolds was well cut out by Harry Murphy. Three minutes later Glentoran netted a third. Alistair Roy's two goals were both excellent finished but the third goal from Kirk McLaughlin was really, really special. Skipper on the night, Joe Crowe, played a superb ball forward for Aaron Wightman to run onto. It looked like it might just have had too much on it but Wightman managed to get there and his excellent, first time cross, was volleyed home by Kirk McLaughlin. What a finish!
Just before the half hour mark Ally Roy almost grabbed his hattrick. Running on to Terry Devlin's through ball, Roy clipped the ball over the advancing keeper but was unlucky to see it come back off the post. An Ards corner on 33 minutes was comfortable dealt with by Ollie Webber. His quick release almost set McLaughlin away. The ball bounced towards Danny Purkis though and he controlled it well before driving forward. Purkis almost picked out his strike partner, Ally Roy at the back post but the Ards keeper, Jason Craughwell did well to intercept. As halftime approached Aaron Wightman set up Ally Roy again. His shot deflected of an Ards defender and the home keeper was able to gather it.
Two minutes from the interval Ards pulled a goal back. The Glentoran defence had several opportunities to clear the ball but it eventually broke kindly for Daniel Reynolds who slotted it past Ollie Webber. So the long run without conceding came to an end....it's time for another.
Halftime: Ards 1-3 Glentoran
Once again the Glens were quickly out of the blocks and almost had a goal within the opening minute of the half. Sean Murray burst through the home defence before seeing his powerful drive hit the side netting. The second half overall was a much more mundane affair with few clear cut chances. Former Glentoran player, Salou Jallow had a half chance on 53 minutes but Jonny Russell did well to block. A couple of minutes later a cross from Danny Purkis on the right was met by Kirk McLaughlin but his header was straight at the keeper.
Mick McDermott then used all five substitutes with Marcus Kane, Bobby Burns, Shay McCartan, Rory Donnelly and Rhys Walsh all coming on, replacing James Singleton, Sean Murray, Terry Devlin, Kirk McLaughlin and Alistair Roy. With 12 minutes remaining Shay McCartan's cross was brilliantly controlled by Danny Purkis. He turned the defender before unleashing a great effort towards goal. Unfortunately Jason Craughwell was once again in the way, denying Purkis a deserved goal. The Ards keeper then did well to keep out a Rory Donnelly header.
With 4 minutes remaining Marcus Kane set Jonny Russell clear down the left. Russell was crudely taken down though on the edge of the area. Shay McCartan went for goal with the free kick and his curling effort seemed destined for the top corner but Craughwell managed to get a hand to it. Unfortunately for the home keeper the ball fell to Purkis who bundled it in. The Glentoran number 22 almost grabbed another in the final minute but seemed to be pushed as he reached Rory Donnelly's cross and his header went over the crossbar.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: Webber, Wightman, Crowe (c), Murphy, Russell, Singleton (Kane 63), Devlin (McCartan 68), Murray (Burns 63), Roy (Walsh 76), Purkis & McLaughlin (R. Donnelly 76)