Glentoran emerged from today at the top of the Sports Direct Premiership by a point, but the players will feel they missed an opportunity this afternoon to establish a bigger lead at this early stage of the season.
Warren Feeney was forced into a number of changes to the squad from last week’s win at Newry. Unsurprisingly Luke McCullough and Aaron Wightman were absentees following their injuries at the Showgrounds, but supporters were also disappointed to see that Fuad Sule and David Fisher had also picked up knocks during the week. Rhys Marshall and Rory Donnelly remained absent so this gave starting slots to the returning Jay Donnelly and Aidan Wilson and also to Josh Kelly in his first league start since signing from Ballymena United.
The Glens dominated the first half straight from kick off. In the first five minutes we had a great pass from Bobby Burns that just bypassed Jay Donelly. Donnelly then returned the compliment but his ball didn’t quite reach Burns in the Dungannon box. Then the Glens number nine hit the post with a close-range effort.
Skipper Marcus Kane had two headers on goal in a two minute spell, but ultimately, for the Glens total dominance of the first half, neither keeper had a serious save to make.
Half Time : Glentoran 0-0 Dungannon Swifts
The Glens started the second half as they had played the first as Shay McCartan was unlucky to hit the bar from an awkward angle not long after the break. Then Jay Donnelly had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for a debatable offside.
From that point it was a very different game as Dungannon came increasingly into it. First Aaron McCarey was forced into a good save from the Swifts first serious chance, a good effort from Kealan Dillon. The Glens keeper was forced into another point blank save, this time from sub Ethan Devine, as Swifts increased the pressure. Though Glentoran still had chances, as on 72 minutes Paddy McClean was in a good position from a McCartan corner but he made it pretty easy for the Swifts keeper Conor Mitchell. Not long after this. Aidan Wilson received a yellow card for his challenge on Niall Owens, who had troubled the Glens defence throughout the half.
Substitute Sean Murray was making a welcome impact in his first league game since the start of January. First he put a teasing ball right across the Swifts goalmouth but it was cleared by ex-Glens centre half Caolan Marron. Then both Murray and Junior were unlucky not to get on the end of a similar deep pass by McCartan.
In the final minute of injury time, Swifts could have nicked it, but for a telling tackle by McClean. But it finished scoreless and frankly that was probably a fair result.
Final Score : Glentoran 0-0 Dungannon Swifts
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Singleton, Kane (c) (Russell 59), Wilson, McClean, Kelly (Murray 75), Burns, McCartan, O’Connor (Junior 68 ), McGinn (Feeney 75), J. Donnelly
Subs (Not used): Webber, Boyd, Palmer