If you switch off against any team in this league you run the risk of it costing you dearly. Tonight at Mourneview Park in the Danske Bank Premiership, Glentoran seemed in control of the game with around 20 minutes remaining but then conceded two set pieces in two minutes and both led to goals for the home side!
Prior to kick off a minute's silence was held in memory of Mary Rose Teer, wife of Glenavon Chairman, Adrian Teer, who passed away last weekend. Everyone at Glentoran FC extends their deepest symapthies to Adrian on his sad loss.
Glentoran made a few changes to the team which won at Warrenpoint on Saturday. Goalkeeper Rory Brown came in for Dayle Coleing who picked up a minor wrist injury in training last night. Ciaran O'Connor and Gael Bigirimana dropped to the bench whilst Hrvoje Plum was rested. Cricky Gallagher, Rory Donnelly and Caolan Marron all came into the starting XI.
There was little goalmouth action in the opening 20 odd minutes of this game. Glentoran did work the ball well down the right with Rory and Jay Donnelly on 4 minutes before finding Marcus Kane in the area. Kane cut the ball back for Jay Donnelly but he fired wide of the post. At the other end a speculative effort from James Singleton flew well over the crossbar (15) and then a Michael O'Connor shot (19) brought a comfortable save out of Rory Brown.
Glentoran went in front on 23 minutes. A trademark long diagonal pass from Luke McCullough came off the head of Glenavon defender Calvin Douglas but broke for Conor McMenamin. McMenamin drove down the left but as he cut inside he lost possession before winning the ball back again and cutting it back for Rory Donnelly who turned it home from 3 yards out. On 29 minutes Caolan Marron did well to control the ball on the right side of midfield before playing an excellent pass to Robbie McDaid. McDaid side-stepped Sean Ward before firing a shot on target but unfortunately for Robbie, it was straight at Craig Hyland in the home goal. McDaid seemed to pick up an injury and required treatment from the Glentoran physio. He was able to resume but only for a couple of minutes before being replaced by Ciaran O'Connor.
On 37 minutes a McMenamin corner was met in the area by Paddy McClean but his shot was deflected behind. 5 minutes from the break Glentoran had a strong claim for a penalty when Ciaran O'Connor seemed to be taken down in the area, having worked himself into a good shooting position but referee Davey ignored the claims. In the final minute of the half a deep cross from the right into the Glentoran area looked to have the potential to cause trouble but Caolan Marron made an excellent defensive header and the 1-nil advantage was maintained.
Halftime: Glenavon 0-1 Glentoran
Glentoran continued to dominate in the opening exchanges in the second half. On 55 minutes a Ciaran O'Connor shot went just over the crossbar and 5 minutes later Jay Donnelly went even closer; his shot from the edge of the area hitting the bar with the keeper stranded. On 64 minutes another effort from O'Connor, this time a curling effort towards the far corner of the net, was deflected behind for a corner. Then midway through the second half a great forward pass from Rory Donnelly picked out brother Jay. He cut inside Doyle but shot just wide of the target.
On 70 minutes Caolan Marron committed a foul just inside his own half. Glenavon took the free kick quickly and caught the Glentoran defence and midfield cold. Peter Campbell was allowed to travel too far without a challenge and he was able to set up Robert Garrett who drilled an unstoppable shot past Rory Brown. We had a repeat just 2 minutes later. This time it was Rhys Marshall who conceded the free kick. Again the ball was put in from the left but it flashed straight across goal. Glenavon retained possession on their right and put the ball straight back into the danger area. It bounced kindly off Gareth McCaffrey, falling at the feet of Matthew Fitzpatrick who slammed it home from 5 yards out. Of the 20 goals Glentoran have conceded this season, the majority have come from set pieces and another 2 were added to that tally tonight.
12 minutes from time a shocking tackle on Ciaran O'Connor left the midfielder in agony on the ground. Referee Davey failed to award a free kick and indeed played on with the player obviously badly injured on the pitch. Given that the tackle happen about 10 yards in front of 4th official Lee Tavinder and in clear view of linesman Gareth Eakin, it's difficult to fathom how everyone missed it. Play was eventually stopped and after treatment, Ciaran O'Connor had to be carried from the field of play, being replaced by Dale Gorman. Glentoran pushed forward looking for an equaliser but the only real chance came near the end when Jay Donnelly volleyed Dale Gorman's corner over the bar.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: Brown, Marron (Mitchell 82), Kane (c), McCullough, McClean, Gallagher, Marshall, McMenamin, R. Donnelly, J. Donnelly & McDaid (O'Connor 34, then Gorman for O'Connor 80)