Glentoran remain in contention in the Danske Bank Premiership following a narrow 1-nil victory at Stangmore Park this afternoon; Conor McMenamin getting the crucial goal just 2 minutes before the interval.
The Swifts had an early set piece taken by former Glentoran midfielder, James Knowles. His ball into the area fell for Shane McGinty but his volley was well off target. On 4 minutes Glentoran had their first opportunity when Bobby Burns played the ball down the line for Jay Donnelly. His cross found Seanan Clucas but his shot was straight at Dwayne Nelson, the former Glentoran stopper. Shay McCartan went for goal a couple of minutes later with a 25-yard free kick but failed to trouble Nelson. McCartan was much closer just before the quarter hour mark. Conor McMenamin and Bobby Burns linked well on the left and Burns put a dangerous cross into the penalty area. It was cleared but only to Shay McCartan whose dipping volley was just over the crossbar.
On 17 minutes Shay McCartan, easily Glentoran's most dangerous player might have went down in the area as he drove towards goal. To his credit though he stayed on his feet but having been forced wide, saw his angled shot turned behind by Dwayne Nelson. A couple of minutes later McCartan went for goal again but this effort was comfortably dealt with by Nelson. 25 minutes in a cross-field pass was well taken down by McCartan. He played the ball inside to Conor McMenamin but his effort was well off target. Moments later at the other end there was a half chance for Joe McCready. He tried to chip the ball over Glentoran keeper Aaron McCarey but he was able to collect it easily.
The Glens might have edged in front on 28 minutes following a great passage of play. The ball was eventually played to Conor McMenamin by Rory Donnelly but McMenamin's shot took a slight deflection and came back off the post. Rhys Marshall then played a great ball to Rory Donnelly on the right. Donnelly's cross was met by Conor McMenamin but his header flew over the bar. 5 minutes from the break a quickly taken free kick by Aaron McCarey set Sean Murray awy on the right. His cross picked out Darren Cole but his header went wide of Nelson's goal.
The breakthrough came on 43 minutes. A powerful header from Darren Cole in midfield sent Jay Donnelly clear. Glentoran's number 9 looked certain to score but was denied by an excellent save from Dwayne Nelson. However luck certainly wasn't on Nelson's side as the ball fell for February's 'Player of the Month' Conor McMenamin. From 10 yards out, McMenamin smashed the ball into the back of the Swifts net; Garry Breen, on the goal line, unable to prevent McMenamin netting his 18th of the season. There was still time for another chance as we edged towards halftime. Seanan Clucas played a ball into the penalty area but Rory Donnelly wasn't able to get on the end of it.
Halftime: Dungannon Swifts 0-1 Glentoran
The Glens started the second half well and had another free kick opportunity on 50 minutes when Shay McCartan was taken down 25 yards from goal. McCartan took the set piece but Dwayne Nelson got down well at his right hand post to turn the ball away. 6 minutes later though the home side might have equalized. A long ball forward was misjudged by Darren Cole and Joe McCready let fly from the edge of the area, forcing an excellent save out of Aaron McCarey who tipped the ball over the crossbar.
Just before the hour mark McCartan was replaced by Dillon Powers, the recent American signing making his debut. Dungannon Swifts then took advantage of the Glens losing possession in midfield but Shane McGinty's curling effort was wide of the far post. With 12 minutes remaining Sean Murray found substitute Michael O'Connor on the edge of the area. His low drive produced a comfortable save from McCarey. In the final minute the Swifts went close again with a spectacular 30-yard effort from James Knowles which McCarey did well to turn behind for a corner. Midway through the 3 minutes of added time Dungannon Swifts won a corner and sent everyone forward, including the goalkeeper. Glentoran's defence, expertly led once again by Caolan Marron, cleared the danger and their clean sheet secured the 3 vital points.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Burns, Marron, Cole, Clucas (c), Murray, McCartan (Powers 58), R. Donnelly (O'Connor 68), J. Donnelly & McMenamin