Glentoran’s seven game unbeaten run came to an end to day as two first half Sean Moore goals condemned us to our fifth consecutive defeat to the Reds, all by a single goal.
There were four changes from last week’s win at Ballymena, with Niall McGinn and Bobby urns returning for James Singleton and an injured Jay Donnelly. Last week’s two goal hero Rory Donnelly kept his place in the starting line-up in his old centre forward role in place of his brother.
The game kicked off after a minute’s applause to mark the passing of author and Reds’ supporter Henry McDonald earlier this week.
There had been speculation that Moore was still injured, but having made the starting line up he opened the scoring on eleven minutes. While the quality of the 20-yard finish is unquestioned, the Glens’ defence certainly had questions to answer about how the young forward was left completely alone with all the time and space necessary to hit his shot past Aaron McCarey into the right-hand corner.
Although the Glens continued to have plenty of possession after the goal, it was over thirty minutes before we won our first corner of the game., leading to an effort past the post from Shay McCartan. This was closely followed by the home team’s second.
Moore was both creator and finisher on this one. Intercepting Aidan Wilson’s header from defence and evading challenges from defenders before blasting a right foot shot into the other corner.
The Glens lost Rory Donnelly to a back injury shortly after the second goal, with Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe taking his place.
Half Time: Cliftonville 2-0 Glentoran
Glentoran started the second half with clear intent and gave the big travelling support when Terry Devlin pulled a goal back on fifty minutes.
Junior battled effectively from a Niall McGinn free kick and when Colin Coates blocked the ball into his path, midfielder Devlin made no mistake with his right foot shot.
The Glens had a number of chances to equalise at different stages in the second half as Niall McGinn drew a great save from Nathan Gartside after Conor McMenamin's defence-splitting pass, before Shay McCartan somehow missed yards from the Cliftonville goal after getting on the end of McGinn's header across goal. Aidan Wilson also headed over from a corner but it wasn’t to be for Glentoran.
So, a disappointing day which has seen us lose ground on Larne, Cliftonville, Linfield and Crusaders in the table. Next up is the first of our games in hand when we play Glenavon on Tuesday night at the Bet McLean Oval in the first of our games in hand. A win would take us past Coleraine in the table before our big Irish Cup semi final at Seaview on Saturday.
Full Time: Cliftonville 2-1 Glentoran
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c), McCullough, Wilson, Burns (Singleton 67), Devlin (Plum 83), McCartan (Wightman 83), McGinn (Purkis 83), McMenamin & R. Donnelly (Junior 36).