Both titans of the Sports Direct Women’s Premiership lost their 100% record at Solitude this evening, but the Glens will definitely be the happier and will see this as a point won rather than two dropped after a mid-second half two goal burst levelled out an early lead from the Reds.
The only change to the Glens starting line up was the return of Ellie Scott in goal. But after a pretty even start the visitors unexpectedly found themselves two goals down after nineteen minutes. First Emily Wilson was dispossessed on the half way line and as the Reds attacked in numbers Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan was well placed to tap in at the far post from a Caitlin McGuinness low cross..
Three minutes later it was ex-Glens winger Danielle Maxwell who was able to capitalise on some nervous defending to double the Cliftonville lead with a great strike from the edge of the Glens box.. That’s how it remained for the rest of the half as Glentoran struggled against a lively and more physical Cliftonville.
The Glens looked a lot livelier after the break and a period of pressure pulled one back on 62 minutes. After a Glens’ free kick came to nothing, Callaghan played a suicidal long backpass to her keeper. Caragh Hamilton caught the Reds defence cold and was perfectly placed to stroke home her tenth goal of the season.
The Glens proceeded to create chances. First Joely Andrews had an effort well saved, then Chloe McCarron had a good effort deflected wide. The subsequent corner, taken by Andrews, was met by Demi Vance who outwitted the packed home defence to stroke home the equaliser from the near post. Glentoran had the best of the remaining exchanges with Emma McMaster hitting the crossbar from a late direct free kick and Andrews having her follow up well saved.
This exceptional show of character and resilience means Glentoran Women remain top of the table on goal difference. Next up is a visit to the Brandywell on Tuesday night to face Derry City.
Glentoran Women: Ellie Scott, Annie Timoney, Jess Foy (c), Emma McMaster, Demi Vance, Nadene Caldwell, Chloe McCarron, Caragh Hamilton, Joely Andrews, Kerry Beattie, Emily Wilson
Subs: Ashleigh McKinnon, Sarah Tweedie, Jenna McKearney, Sam Kelly (for Wilson 71), Rachel Rogan, Rachel McIntyre.
Photography by Johnny Caldwell