A goal in each half took Coleraine into the semi-final of the Bet McLean League Cup tonight and extended Glentoran’s winless run at the Showgrounds to twelve games and five and a half years.
Mick McDermott was forced into a number of changes from Saturday’s home win over Warrenpoint. Ross Glendinning returned in goal for the suspended Aaron McCarey while Mal Smith started at right back for Rhys Marshall, rested due to still feeling the effects of the injury sustained at Carrick recently. Gael Bigirimana returned to midfield with Ben Cushnie returning to the bench for this one.
The first sign of what was to happen came on 9 minutes when the always dangerous Conor McKendry hit a great effort from just outside the box that was too high for the Glens’ keeper but rebounded off the crossbar. McKendry had a more fruitful contribution a few minutes later though. From a Glens corner kick, McKendry was sent away and with only Caolan Marron left back, ran some distance unchallenged before passing to the unmarked Jamie Glackin who never looked like missing. One nil to Coleraine!
For the next fifteen minutes the Glens had plenty of possession in their own half and in midfield but rarely gave the supporters much to talk about until Conor McMenamin looked to have a decent penalty claim rejected when he appeared to be bundled over in the air. Ref Raymond Crangle was having none of it. The only other notable first half incidents were a booking for Mal Smith on Glackin on the edge of the Glens box. Glackin took the free kick, but defender Rodney Brown headed his free header over the bar.
Half Time: Coleraine 1-0 Glentoran
The Glens started the second half more purposefully as Luke McCullough first shot just wide then was unlucky when his shot went just across the face of the goal after clever work from Jay Donnelly. From the corner Paddy McClean headed just over while Donnelly pulled a point blank save from Deane in the Coleraine goal. A few minutes later Conor McKendry was booked for a terrible challenge on McClean and a few minutes later Robbie McDaid hit the post after a probing cross from Bobby Burns.
However that was to be the Glens last real chance to have any impact on the outcome as on 63 minutes a catalogue of errors at the back left Coleraine’s top scorer Matthew Shevlin with a simple task to double his team’s lead.
Glentoran made a number of late substitutions, which included promising cameos from young players Cushnie, Jordan Jenkins and seventeen-year-old Aaron Wightman. But Coleraine are an experienced team very capable of managing the game out when ahead, and they ensured that the Glens made little meaningful impact in the final stages of the match.
Next up for the Glens is a visit to the Bet McLean Oval by Ballymena United on Saturday, fresh from a quarter final win over Linfield this evening.
Full Time: Coleraine 2-0 Glentoran
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: Glendinning, Smith (Jenkins 70), Burns, Marron McClean (c), McCullough, Plum (Clucas 81), Bigirimana (Crowe 81), McDaid J. Donnelly (Wightman 81) & McMenamin (Cushnie 70)