Football is all about taking your chances and had Glentoran done that today then the points would have been theirs. With just 3 minutes played a free kick to Glentoran was swung into the danger zone by Stephen Carson. Marcus Kane met it but his header was straight at Glendinning in the home goal. Linfield broke straight down the field though and opened the scoring. Slack defending allowed Matthew Tipton to get a header on goal. Skipper, Elliott Morris produced a fantastic save, tipping the ball onto the crossbar but it fell straight to Peter Thompson who nodded home from close range. Andrew Waterworth had the chance to level on 7 minutes; outpacing the defence but Glendinning saved with his legs. The ball broke to Jim O'Hanlon on the edge of the area but he dragged his effort wide. On 13 minutes Michael Carvill was lucky not to find himself in referee Courtney's book following a rash challenge on Richard Clarke. Stephen Carson took the resultant free kick, his 25 yard effort forcing Glendinning to turn the ball behind for a corner.
18 minutes in and Waterworth once again used his electric pace to leave the Linfield defence in his wake however Glendinning saved with his legs again much to the frustration of the Glentoran striker and the travelling support. A free kick to the home side (27) was blocked by O'Hanlon for a corner. Carson then failed to make the most of a free kick at the other end following a foul on Waterworth (34). A minute later O'Hanlon showed his attacking side, going on a trademark run on the right and cutting inside before finding Richard Clarke in the area. Clarke, with the goal at his mercy, skied his shot.
Glentoran spurned two further chances to equalise towards the end of the half. On 38 minutes Andy Waterworth went clear again only to be denied again by Ross Glendinning. Within 60 seconds a mistake by Armstrong in the Linfield defence was seized on by Stephen Carson. He raced into the area and rounded the keeper but put his shot wide of the far post. A minute after the break Thompson was inches away from connecting with a left wing cross which would have doubled the home side's advantage. Both sides struggled at times during the second half to create any real opportunities. O'Hanlon went on a mazy run (53) but having beaten a couple of defenders the ball seemed to get stuck under his feet as he entered the penalty area and was cleared by Burns. Lowry's 25 yard free kick (56) was well held by Morris and then just before the hour mark the glens were unlucky not to draw level. A Carson corner to the back post was headed over Glendinning by Jimmy Callacher but the ball was cleared off the line. 20 minutes from time another cross from Carson was headed home by Callacher but referee Mark Courtney harshly disallowed the goal. As the game ended it was Glentoran who continued to press forward in search of a deserved equaliser. They failed to get it though and were left to rue those first half missed chances.
Match action on BBC Sport NI HERE
Glentoran: Morris (capt), Bradley, Kane, Magee, Callacher, McAlorum, Howland, R. Clarke, O'Hanlon, Carson & Waterworth.
Subs: Hill for McAlorum (47), M. Murray for O'Hanlon (78) and Ward for Carson (80).