A 63rd minute goal from Lee Bonis settled today's Danske Bank Premiership game at the Bet McLean Oval.
Glentoran started the game with Bobby Burns returning to the team following his recent injury and Shay McCartan back from suspension. There was also a debut for recent signing, Niall McGinn. The Glens began the game playing towards the Sydenham End with a strong wind at their backs. It was Larne though with the first attempt on goal in the 2nd minute. A free kick to the visitors was played into the Glens' penalty area. It was cleared but fell to Cian Bolger who drove it well wide of the target. On 8 minutes there was a half chance for Niall McGinn when the ball broke kindly to him on the edge of the box but he fired well over.
On 12 minutes Larne played another free kick into the box. The Glentoran defence managed to clear the danger initially but when the ball was returned into the danger area, Lee Bonis headed just past the angle of post and crossbar. Midway through the first half Glentoran really should have gone in front. Shay McCartan played a superb long ball to release Rory Donnelly. Donnelly cut inside Larne's Aaron Donnelly before finding his brother Jay in the 'D'. Jay Donnelly outwitted the two Larne defenders nearest him and set up an excellent chance for Niall McGinn but he blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
On 27 minutes a Glentoran free kick on the right was played into the area by McGinn. Jay Donnelly's shot looked destined for the bottom corner but was deflected inches past the post. A minute later at the other end Aaron McCarey made a great save to deny Lee Bonis from a tight angle. It was the last meaningful action of a first half played in extremely difficult conditions.
Halftime: Glentoran 0-1 Larne
3 minutes after the interval Shay McCartan went on a decent forward run before shooting for goal from around 25 yards. The ball flashed wide of the post though with Larne keeperRohan Ferguson untroubled. On 50 minutes Rory Donnelly was forced off with what looked like a hip injury. Seanan Clucas replaced him but around 20 minutes later he too retired with an injury. Just before the hour mark Shea Gordon knocked Bobby Burns to the ground in an off the ball incident right in front of the 4th official. Surprisingly no action was taken by referee Morrison although Larne did substitute the player shortly afterwards.
Larne took the lead on 63 minutes, a goal which ultimately decided the game. A cross from the left saw Lee Bonis nip in between Marcus Kane and Paddy McClean to head into the bottom corner from ariund 8 yards out. The visitors probably should have doubled their advantage on 69 minutes. A corner was played into the Glentoran penalty area. With the ball heading wide, Aaron McCarey left it assuming a goal kick would be awarded. The referee gave a corner. This second set piece caused all sorts of problems for the Glentoran defence with Leroy Millar's effort hitting the crossbar and Paddy McClean blocking Joseph Thompson's shot before Fuad Sule fired over.
Aidan Wilson, Danny Purkis and Aaron Wightman were all introduced but the only decent chance for an equaliser came from another Shay McCartan run and shot which found the side netting. Leroy Millar might have scored a second for Larne but was denied by a fine McCarey save.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c), McCullough, McClean, Devlin, R. Donnelly (Clucas 50 (Wilson 71)), Burns (Purkis 75), McGinn (Wightman 75), J. Donnelly & McCartan