Before kick off both teams and both sets of supporters respectfully observed a minute's silence on this Remembrance weekend.
Glentoran's Director of Football, Roy Coyle saw his side make it 7 points out of 9 since he took temporary charge of the team a couple of weeks ago. With Conor McMenamin, Kym Nelson, Fra McCaffrey, Calum Birney, David Scullion and Jay Magee all missing through injury, Coyle made 4 changes to his starting line up for this game. Steven Gordon returned after illness to play at right back and Jim O'Hanlon & Steven McCullough came in to occupy the wide midfield positions. Ciaran Caldwell also started the game in midfield.
The Glens started quite brightly with Jim O'Hanlon causing the home defence problems. Indeed it was from a foul on the Glentoran outside right that we had the first chance of the game after 7 minutes. Ciaran Caldwell took the free kick but his 30 yard effort was blocked by the home side's defensive wall. 2 minutes later, again from a set piece, the home side alomst opened the scoring, Kyle McVeigh volleying wide from 8 yards out. A misplaced pass was picked up by Jonny Addis on 10 minutes. He found Curtis Allen in the area but his curling effort was well saved by Dwayne Nelson with Jim Ervin completing the clearance. Ballymena United were unlucky not to go in front on 14 minutes, David Cushley stepped inside Willie Garrett before curling a deliious shot goalwards. Elliott Morris was relieved to see the ball hit the crossbar and go out for a goal kick.
Elliott Morris then had to get down sharply to turn a shot from Allan Jenkins away for a corner. From the resulting set play Gareth Rodger's header was off target. Curtis Allen tried his luck from 35 yards on 20 minutes but although his effort was on target it was easily dealt with by Nelson. The Glens number 9 then tested Nelson again after picking up an excellent ball from Steven McCullough. The Ballymena keeper's clearance fell to Marcus Kane but his snap shot failed to hit the target. A long ball out of defence from Morris was flicked on by Allen on 36 minutes with Jonny Addis just failing to get a touch on it inside the 6-yard box. A minute later Gareth Rodger had a great chance when he broke free but he fired over from the edge of the area.
The only goal of the game came on 39 minutes. Stephen McAlorum found Steven McCullough on the left and his superb ball was met at the back post by Ciaran Caldwell who smashed it beyond the helpless Nelson in the home goal. A minute later and Caldwell's day was almost ended prematurely when a shocking tackle from Michael Ruddy left him rolling in agony. Ruddy was perhaps fortunate to only pick up a yellow card from referee Deighan. In first half stoppage time Tony Kane also picked up a yellow card for a very late tackle on Steven Gordon.
2 minutes after the interval Curtis Allen was fouled when going through on goal. Substitute Niall Henderson took the free kick but failed to get it past the Ballymena United wall. Willie Garrett then picked up a yellow card for a needless foul on 52 minutes. When the free kick was played into the danger area Kyle McVeigh headed over the crossbar. 5 minutes later Elliott Morris did well to keep out a long range effort from David Cushley. The powerful shot bounced in front of the Glens custodian and although he couldn't hold on to the ball he recovered quickly and gathered it at the second attempt. Just before the hour mark Cushley got in again but, under pressure from Glens skipper, McAlorum, his shot from a tight angle was well kept out by Morris.
The home side went searching for an equaliser but the Glentoran back four held firm with Barry Holland in particular, putting in a superb performance. Gavin Taggart almost levelled things up on 69 minutes but the crossbar again came to Glentoran's rescue. A cross from Tony Kane on 82 minutes was headed over by substitute Gary Thompson. A free kick from Curtis Allen 5 minutes from time was easlily saved by the Sky Blues keeper whilst at the other end Matthhew Shelvin wasn't able to control the ball when well placed and let it go out for a goal kick. Glentoran held on and made it 6 games unbeaten in all competitions. They remain in 6th place in the table, 2 points behind Glenavon but now 6 points ahead of 7th placed Portadown. Next up for the Glens it's a trip to Seaview and a game against the champions and current league leaders, Crusaders.
Glentoran: Morris, Gordon, Kane, Holland, Garrett, Addis, McAlorum (capt), Caldwell, McCullough, O'Hanlon and Allen
Subs: Henderson for Addis (46), Smith for Caldwell (66) and Gibson for O'Hanlon (71).
Unused subs: Hogg & Fearon
Photographs by Thomas Sewell