Glentoran FC

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Crusaders 1-2 Glentoran

Sun, 30/04/2023 - 00:14

Glentoran’s third Danske Bank Premiership win over Crusaders today wasn’t enough to send us into second place and automatic Europa Conference qualification but a third successive post-split win should send the players into the European Play offs in a positive and confident frame of mind.

With James Singleton recovered from injury,  Rodney McAree was able to select the starting eleven that comfortably defeated Cliftonville two weeks ago, with Bobby Burns back in midfield and Hrvoje Plum on the bench.

The first half hour was generally even in terms of possession but Crusaders – without creating any meaningful chances – spent more time than we’d have wanted in the Glens penalty box, leading to a couple of minor tussles between Aaron McCarey in the Glens’ goal and Crues’ striker Dean Ebbe, Our best move was a great right wing run and cross by Aaron Wightman that no forward managed to reach.

The Glens were struck a blow on 31 minutes when young centre back Harry Murphy fell to the ground after apparently twisting his knee. A stretcher was needed for Harry but it was a saddening sightseeing the 19-year-old leave the pitch in such a manner after taking his chance and performing so well in our post-split games. Best wishes to Harry for a speedy recovery. He was replaced at centre back by Joe Crowe.

As we approached half time the Glens started to exert more attacking threat with Bobby Burns hitting the side netting after good work by Junior and Conor McMenamin. The visitors then took the lead five minutes into injury time when a cheeky finish by Junior – after good play by Wightman and McMenamin – beat Tom Murphy in the Crues’ goal.

Half Time: Crusaders 0-1 Glentoran

Glentoran started the second half very much on the front foot as James Singleton headed just into the side netting and Terry Devlin pulled an excellent save from Murphy.

The Glens then got a deserved second on 57 minutes. A Niall McGinn corner was headed back across the goal to where Terry Devlin was able to hit an unstoppable volley through a packed penalty area into the Crues’ goal. The midfielder is certainly rising to his manager’s call for more goals. Following his excellent headed opener v Coleraine last week.

Apart from a strong effort into the side netting from Crusaders’ Jay Bod there was very little goalmouth action at either end as the Glens lead looked secure. But there was another potential nasty shock on 77 minutes when Aaron McCarey appeared to fall badly after coming out to take a high ball. The stretcher was again seen but this time fortunately it wasn’t needed as the big keeper was able to carry on.

The home side gained some hope on 88 minutes when Boyd struck home after a goalmouth melee similar to those we’ve seen so often at Seaview. But the Glens held out comfortably for a third successive DBP win.

So next come the play offs and our first appearance there for four years. After three successive good wins and just one defeat in our last eight games, Rodney McAree will be expecting a positive and confident approach to the play offs. Who we play will be dependent on whether or not Crusaders win the Irish Cup, so all will be revealed a week today.

Full Time: Crusaders 1-2 Glentoran

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: McCarey, Wightman, Singleton, , McCullough (c) , Murphy (Crowe 32), Burns Devlin, Marshall (Plum 67),  McGinn, McMenamin (R. Donnelly 67), & Junior (Purkis 82)