Glentoran went down 3-nil at the Bet McLean Oval this afternoon, outfought in every area of the pitch by Crusaders.
Skipper, Marcus Kane was missing with a hip injury, picked up during Tuesday night’s game at Inver Park. Caolan Marron came in to the back four with Patrick McClean moving to the left back slot and taking the captain’s armband.
With just 4 minutes played, Luke McCullough picked up the ball in midfield. He drove forward unchallenged and fired a 30-yard effort wide of the post. Following a foul on Shay McCartan, a Hrvoje Plum free kick was swung into the area. McCartan flicked the ball on with his head but it was a comfortable save for Jonathan Tuffey.
A minute later Crusaders went in front. They attacked down their left and had time to put a measured cross into the box. Adam Lecky got there just ahead of Caolan Marron to nudge the ball over the line. Glentoran tried to force their way back into the game. A cross from Patrick McClean was headed well wide by Robbie McDaid and then following neat play from Shay McCartan, he saw his cross turned behind for a corner.
Caolan Marron produced an excellent block to deny Josh Robinson just before the half hour mark to stop the Crues extending their advantage. 10 minutes from halftime the game should have been level. A lovely move involving McCartan and McMenamin saw the Glens number 24 clip the ball towards Jay Donnelly. He headed it into the path of Robbie McDaid but his effort flew over the bar. Just before the break a tackle/clearance from Luke McCullough set Conor McMenamin free but despite being in a great position, he was unable to bring the ball under control and the chance was gone.
Halftime: Glentoran 0-1 Crusaders
The visitors could have made it 2-nil on 50 minutes when Heatley went through one v one with Aaron McCarey but the Glens keeper did well to save. It was 2-0 though just 4 minutes later when Ben Kennedy scored from the penalty spot. Glentoran had their own penalty claim on 57 minutes after Rhys Marshall found Jay Donnelly in the area and his shot seemed to be blocked by the hand of a Crusaders defender. It wasn’t given.
It was 3-nil and game over on 65 minutes when Aidan Wilson headed home from a corner. In the final quarter the Glens looked lethargic and were perhaps fortunate that Crusaders didn’t add to the score line. Overall, a very disappointing performance in front of a big crowd with no Glentoran player reaching the required level. Things need to improve for Tuesday.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, McCullough, Marron, McClean (c), Burns, McCartan (R. Donnelly 66), Plum (Bigirimana 61), McDaid (Cushnie), McMenamin & J. Donnelly.