Glentoran were unlucky not to leave Seaview with a share of the spoils this afternoon. The home side started brightly and Heatley’s curling shot on 10 minutes was inches wide of the far post. McAllister and Morrow both had chances for the Crues but on 17 minutes it was Glentoran who went in front. David Howland, playing his 100th game for the club, took advantage of some slack play in the Crusaders defence, winning the ball and feeding Carl McComb. The young striker’s return pass was controlled by Howland and he slipped it past the advancing O’Neill from 16 yards. Stephen McAlorum controlled a long pass from Calum Birney (20) but his speculative shot from near the touchline was well wide of the target. A minute later a late interception from Mark Clarke denied Snoddy a scoring chance but Crusdaers drew level on 24 minutes with a superb goal from Gary McCutcheon. Calum Birney lost the ball just inside his own half and McCutcheon, seeing Morris out on the 18 yard line shot from about 10 yards inside the Glens half. It was perfectly judged; Morris having no chance of saving it. 4 minutes later Glentoran were back in front. Stephen Carson’s cross from the left was met by McComb but his goal-bound header was tipped over the bar by O’Neill. Carson took the corner from the right and Mark Clarke arrived unchallenged to head home from 6 yards. Just before the break McAllister went close for the Crues, firing narrowly over from 20 yards.
Just past the hour mark Glentoran had two efforts on goal in quick succession. Stephen McAlorum’s 20 yard drive was blocked by former Glens legend Paul Leeman. The ball eventually fell to Sean Ward who tried his luck form 30 yards but his shot was straight at O’Neill. The game was then turned completely around in a 4 minute spell. On 66 minutes McAlorum sent Carson away down the left. He cut into the area, drawing both defenders and the keeper towards him before sliding a pass across goal. It was inches behind Carl McComb who would have had an open goal to make it 3-1. Instead within a minute a right wing cross from Chris Morrow was headed home from close range by Declan Caddell (67). On 70 minutes it was 3-2. A Crusaders move down the left seemed to have come to nothing when Jason Hill cleared to Carson. He lost possession though on the corner of the 18 yard box and McAllister drove the ball low past Morris to put the home side in front. 3 minutes later a quick free kick from Howland found McComb in the box. He laid the ball off to Marcus Kane but his shot was just too high. Despite making a couple of changes the Glens couldn’t find an equaliser but with Cliftonville winning at Coleraine, 4th place is virtually assured.
Highlights on BBC Sport NI HERE
Glentoran: Morris, Ward, Hill, Nixon (capt), Birney, McAlorum, M. Clarke, Howland, M. Murray, Carson & McComb.
Subs: Kane for M. Clarke (55), Gibson for McComb (78) & R. Clarke for M. Murray (84).