Glentoran suffered their second home 3-nil defeat in the space of 4 days in the Danske Bank Premiership this evening.
The Glens made two changes from Saturday with Ross Glendinning replacing the unwell Ross McCarey in goal, and Gael Bigirimana starting in place of Bobby Burns who was among the substitutes tonight. Paddy McClean continued at left back and captain in place of injured skipper Marcus Kane. The Blues were without top scorer Christy Manzinga, suspended after a red card at the weekend.
The Glens started strongly and in the first fifteen minutes had decent efforts from Jay Donnelly (twice), Robbie McDaid and a great solo effort from Shay McCartan. All looked very positive as we looked to have bounced back very well from Saturday’s disappointment.
That all changed on eighteen minutes when a misplaced clearance from Caolan Marron allowed Blues skipper Jamie Mulgrew to chest the ball into the path of recent signing Matthew Green who burst clear to confidently place the ball under the body of the diving Ross Glendinning to put the visitors in front. This proved to be the turning point in the game, despite coming so early. At this point Mulgrew must have picked up an injury as he was immediately replaced in midfield by Cameron Palmer.
The Glens search for an equaliser included a penalty #claim when Shay McCartan went down in the box, a decent effort from out wide by Jay Donnelly that ran across the face of the goalmouth, and a shot well over the bar from Bigirimana after a great cross from Hrvoje Plum. In return, Ross Glendinning had to stretch to tip a speculative but very dangerous long range shot over the bar.
But these efforts came to nothing, and the Glens paid the inevitable price from the resultant corner on 32 minutes when Trai Hume jumped unchallenged to head home from eight yards out for the Blues second. A goal similar to Aidan Wilson’s for Crusaders at the other end on Saturday.
Unlike the first goal, this one did knock the Glens out of their stride and the only incident of note in the rest of the half was a yellow card for Linfield’s Kirk Miller for taking out Shay McCartan on the right flank.
Half Time: Glentoran 0-2 Linfield
Glentoran had a couple of chances to pull on back early in the second half. First Rhys Marshall shot after breaking in from the right followed by a glancing header just wide from Robbie McDaid after a teasing Plum cross.
However just four minutes after the break the game was effectively finished as both a contest and a showpiece when Stephen Fallon did very well to hold of the attention of a Glens defender to send substitute Palmer away. The ex-Rangers midfielder was one on one with Glendinning. The Glens keeper came out well for it, but the determined Palmer was too quick and slotted home from the edge of the box to make it three.
The rest of the half was a bit of a non-event as the Glens continued to create chances that came to nothing. There were decent efforts from Marshall, a couple from Robbie McDaid and an injury time free kick just over the bar from substitute Bobby Burns. But the third Linfield goal had to all intents and purpose killed the game by then.
So a disappointing night for the Glens as we now sit seventh in the table, seven points behind early leaders Cliftonville. Still a long way to go, but certainly some improvement will be needed for our visit to Mourneview Park on Saturday.
Full Time: Glentoran 0-3 Linfield
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: Glendinning, Marshall, McCullough, Marron, McClean (c) (Burns 72), Bigirimana, Plum (Clucas 80), McCartan (R. Donnelly (80), McMenamin (Cushnie 67), J. Donnelly & McDaid