A second late goal in five days from Paul O'Neill, this time proved nothing other than consolation as Glentoran fell to a deserved first defeat of the season at Stangmore Park.
There were two changes to Tuesday’s starting line up. Skipper Marcus Kane replaced Ross Redman at left back on his return from suspension. Up front Darren Murray dropped to the bench to give Curtis Allen a start up front between Robbie McDaid and Tom Byrne.
The first half hour was a drab, uneventful affair with little between the sides. The only real talking point was some very heavy challenges on Glens players – particularly Herron, Allen, Byrne and McDaid – that largely went unpunished by referee Ian McNabb. That definitely had an impact on our performance but there were no real chances created by either side.
Swifts opened the scoring on 26 minutes. The ball broke just inside the Glens’ half and fell to Dungannon centre half Dylan King. He was able to get the ball under control, take four steps before taking an unchallenged 35-yard low shot that bounced just in front of Marijan Antolovic to deceive and pass the big Glens’ keeper.
The Glens tried to get back into the game before the break but to little meaningful effect. The back four looked solid but a very well organised Swifts defence and a robust midfield held out well. The only real chance in the half came when Tom Byrne did very well to get on the end of a deep Marcus Kane cross, but it was just a bit long for him.
Half Time: Dungannon Swifts 1-0 Glentoran
Elvio Van Overbeek started the second half in place of John Herron who was suffering the effects of a very bad challenge late the first half. The Glens really didn’t spring to life until the introduction of Darren Murray on 57 minutes. Murray provided a focus for Glens attacks and over a fifteen-minute period of all-out attack there were good chances and near misses from Murray, McDaid, Byrne, Plum and Peers as the Glens chased the equaliser to no avail.
Swifts at this stage were happy to park the bus and wait for the break and that paid off for them on 75 minutes when a long ball out of defence found Oisin Smyth on the left wing. Smyth pulled the Glens defence out wide before crossing to the unmarked on loan Linfield player Ryan Waide who had a straightforward chance and scored from eight yards out.
Again, the Glens pressed hard with no success although substitute Paul O’Neill again looked lively. Then in the last minute of normal time when a debatable penalty was awarded against Paddy McClean on Craig Taylor just inside the Glens box. Seanan Clucas converted to take the match out of the Glens’ reach.
In injury time Paul O’Neill scored from an Elvio Van Overbeek cross, a finish very similar to his equaliser against Coleraine on Tuesday night. Another good finish from Paul but purely a consolation for the Glens.
Still very early days for the new look Glens squad but a disappointing outcome today after Tuesday night’s excellent fightback.
Full Time: Dungannon Swifts 3-1 Glentoran
Glentoran: Antolovic, Smith (O'Neill 77), Kane (C), McClean, Peers, Herron (Van Overbeek, 45), Plum Crowe, Byrne (Allen, 71), McDaid & Allen (Murray,57).
Photography by Thomas Sewell