Glentoran are out of the Irish Cup after a 1-nil defeat at Seaview and whilst the scoreline suggests it was a tight game, in reality Crusaders,once they edged in front, were reasonably comfortable throughout. Marcus Kane was back following his one match suspension and Shay McCartan returned to the starting XI in place of the injured Niall McGinn. James Singleton was in midfield in place of Hrvoje Plum.
Matches against Crusaders, particularly at Seaview, are normally tough, bruising encounters and this was no different. It was the home side who looked stronger and hungrier in most areas of the pitch with Glentoran struggling to create any meaningful chances for the majority of the contest. A corner to the home side on 6 minutes was met, on the volley, by Adam Lecky but his effort was straight at Aaron McCarey. The best opportunity for the Glens came a couple of minutes later when the Crusaders defence made a hash of clearing the ball and it broke kindly for the unmarked Shay McCartan. Macartan brought the ball under control and slipped it past Jonathan Tuffey. Unfortunately the ball hit the inside of the post before being hacked behind by Daniel Larmour. Had that gone in, it might have been a different story.
Aidan Wilson was hit very late by Jordan Forsythe after clearing the ball down field. He received similar treatment shortly afterwards whilst Shay McCartan was also felled in an off the ball incident. Heatley was also booked for a very late challenge on McMenamin. Midway through the first half Jay Donnelly and James Singleton lonked up but the low ball across goal was just out of the reach of Conor McMenamin. Crusaders went in front on 29 minutes. Philip Lowry was given far too much time on the edge of the area with both Singleton and Kane unable to get the ball away. He then collected a backheel from Adam Lecky before driving the ball across Aaron McCarey. The ball struck the inside of the post but Forsythe was quickest to the rebound and netted from close range.
Billy-Joe Burns was yellow carded for a poor tackle on Marcus Kane. McCartan took the free kick from the left and Kane's header was tipped over the bar by Tuffey. The Glens were awarded another free kick in first half stoppage time. The ball was played into the box but only cleared as far as Rhys Marshall in the 'D'. Marshall struck the ball perfectly but Tuffey was well positioned to make the save.
Halftime: Crusaders 1-0 Glentoran
6 minutes into the second half the Glens were awarded a free kick after yet another foul on Conor McMenamin. The ball was played into the area and headed down by Marcus Kane for Jay Donnelly but the striker fired wide. The home side then might have added to their lead as a ponderous Glentoran defence struggled to clear the ball. Bobby Burns eventually got it away but Crusaders continued to press and Heatley went close with an effort from the edge of the area. Crusaders had another great opportunity on 65 minutes when a free kick fell to Philip Lowry and his shot wasn't too far wide of the post.
Glentoran made a number of substitutions as they looked for that spark which might bring an equaliser but only Aaron Wightman carried any real threat. With 5 minutes remaining Conor McMenamin managed to find Rhys Marshall in the area but his powerful shot from a tight angle was turned behind by Jonathan Tuffey.
So it was another disappointing day for the large, travelling Glentoran support. A season which started so promisingly has fizzled out and today the last realistic hope of silverware for this season, disappeared.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c), McCullough, Wilson, Burns (Purkis 73), Singleton, Devlin, J. Donnelly (Junior 73), McCartan (Wightman 58) & McMenamin.