Ballinamallard United recorded their first ever victory at the Oval against a lacklustre Glens this afternoon. Eddie Patterson was without several defenders, with Barry Holland, Jay Magee and Calum Birney all on the injured list, but there was little excuse for a performance which saw few, if any, Glentoran players come out of the game with any credit.
It was a slow start to the game with the Mallards’ defence looking a little nervous at times, but it was the visitors who created the first clear cut chance after 8 minutes as Liam Martin failed to connect from 6 yards out. The same player found space on the edge of the box a couple of minutes later but his shot was comfortably saved by Aaron Hogg. At the other end only a couple of well delivered corners from Jonathan Smith caused the visitors any concern with the ball eventually scrambled away, and it was half an hour before Glentoran’s first shot on target, Curtis Allen making a good run but sending his shot straight at visiting ‘keeper Alvin Rouse. Just as the game looked to be drifting to a goalless first half the Mallards made the breakthrough on 40 minutes. Cathal Beacom showed more determination than the home defence to win the ball on the edge of the area, fed an unmarked Johnny Courtney and he guided the ball low past Hogg.
The home fans were hoping for a response after the break but waited in vain. Smith curled a shot just wide on 53 minutes but it was Ballinamallard who doubled their lead after 55. From a free kick 22 yards out Beacom curled a shot low round the wall and into the bottom corner with Hogg perhaps disappointed that he didn’t get a hand to it. With the Glens looking a beaten side and the Mallards content with their two goal advantage the match drifted into the doldrums with a Marcus Kane shot over the bar and Michael McCrudden free kick struck just wide the only efforts of note. Indeed the first Glentoran effort on target in the second period came with 3 minutes left, Allen mis-hitting a good chance which trickled into Rouse’s hands.
A disappointing performance to say the least, especially after the ship seemed to have been steadied after last week’s victory at Dungannon. Next up is the daunting trip to the National Stadium to take on old rivals and League leaders Linfield; a vast improvement will be needed if we are to come away from that game with pride intact.
Aaron Hogg, Kristian Gibson (sub George Gray 57 mins), Jonny Addis, Willie Garrett, Marcus Kane, David Scullion (sub Fra McCaffrey 76 mins), Steven Gordon, Stephen McAlorum, Jonathan Smith, Curtis Allen, Conor McMenamin
Photographs by Thomas Sewell