Glentoran recorded their first away league victory of the season with a well deserved 2-1 win over Glenavon.
The home side had an early opportunity to go in front with just 2 minutes on the clock. A poor clearance from Willie Garrett provided a chance for Andy McGrory but he dragged his effort wide of the post. After that hiccup Glentoran began to dominate the game and David Scullion, who had another excellent game, tested James McGrath in the home goal; the keeper saving Scullion's 30 yard effort. Fra McCaffrey had the next shot but it went wide of the far post with 12 minutes played. A minute later though the East Belfast Glens went in front.
Stephen McAlorum did well to win the ball in midfield. His pass found Allen who put Scullion away down the left and when he drove the ball low across the area Jordan Stewart was first to the ball to flick it past McGrath. Willie Garrett tried his luck with a 30+ yard free kick but his ambitious effort was blocked and then cleared. On 24 minutes a quick free kick from McAlorum found McCaffrey. His ball into the danger area was met by Kym Nelson but the young midfielder was marginally offside. Glentoran had two more decent efforts just before the half hour mark. McCaffrey set up Curtis Allen but his shot was well kept out by McGrath. Moments later a throw-in down the right presented McCaffrey with another chance but again the keeper was equal to it. Glenavon, who had lost Shane McCabe early on through injury, struggled to create much; Kevin Braniff's 25 yard free kick on 36 minutes being their best effort. Glentoran should have doubled their lead before the break but Allen's shot from Scullion's cross brought another excellent save from the Glenavon keeper.
Glenavon upped their game after the break. On 47 minutes McGrory just failed to control Braniff's cross and then Eoin Bradley broke clear following a slack ball from Scullion. As Bradley closed in on goal the excellent Johnny Addis got back to close down the space and forced the Lurgan Blues striker to shoot wide. 10 minutes into the second half a great move involving McAlorum and Allen created a chance for McCaffrey but Andy Kilmartin nipped in to clear the ball for a corner. Bradley had another chance for Glenavon but Glens' skipper, Elliott Morris stood up well and denied him. On the hour mark a ball into the Glenavon penalty area was back-heeled by Scullion to Allen. Glentoran's number 9 met it well but was denied again by McGrath. It would have been a 'goal of the season' contender had it gone in. The home side levelled on 66 minutes when a corner played into the 6-yard box was eventually scrambled over the line by Conor Dillon. It was a scrappy goal to concede but Glentoran rallied and 5 minutes later were unluck to see Fra McCaffrey's 25 yard free kick go inches over the crossbar. McCaffrey went close again (78) when set up by Scullion but with just 10 minutes remaining the Glens went back in front. Jordan Stewart broke into the box and went down under a challenge. The ball broke to David Scullion and whilst the crowd were debating whether or not Stewart should have had a penalty, Scullion calmly slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-1. In the final minute substitute, Danny McKee had a chance to wrap the game up but McGrath saved his effort at the second attempt. Glenavon forced a couple of corners deep into added time but Glentoran held firm to take all 3 points.
Highlights and manager reaction on BBC Sport NI HERE
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Glentoran: Morris (capt), Henderson, Kane, Addis, Garrett, Nelson, McAlorum, McCaffrey, Scullion, Stewart & Allen.
Subs: McKee for Allen (74) and Holland for Kane (82)