It's every football fans' worst nightmare as Glentoran were humiliated and made to look sub-standard by fierce rivals Linfield on their own patch last night, as the Blues battered a sorry Glens side 4-0 to ironic cries of 'can we play you every week?' from the away support. A sunny evening saw a decent turn-out for two sides with little to play for except the much coveted bragging rights, but within 3 minutes many in green and red probably wished they hadn't bothered.
Glens' 'keeper Elliott Morris gave the ball away cheaply and the rapid Linfield attack tore threw a sluggish Glentoran defence with the ball eventually finding former Oval striker Andy Waterworth who clincally buried it past Morris as the massacre started early in east Belfast. Chance after chance fell for Linfield but Ross Gaynor, Waterworth and Kirk Millar all missed decent opportunities before the Glens finally got their first attempt on goal almost 25 minutes into the game, with top scorer Curtis Allen's long ranger barely troubling 'keeper Gareth Deane.
A Marcus Kane goalbound header almost brought the home support to their feet, but handball appeals were waved away and Linfield continued their onslaught and doubled their advantage on 33 minutes as Waterworth crashed a stunning volley from 25 yards into the top corner to heap more gloom on a Glentoran team that were high on confidence after a first victory at Solitude over Cliftonville in 5 years only three days previously.
A couple of half-chances for both teams saw the half out with Linfield comfortably ahead with a two goal advantage, but after the break the Glens did have their best spell of the game as first a Stephen McCullough long-ranger (48) and a David Scullion strike (51) failed to really trouble Deane, but the signs were promising.
A couple of extremely questionable decisions followed with Kane booked for what is commonly known as a 'nothing' challenge, and Jonathan Smith cautioned for kicking the ball off the wall and back onto the pitch after being called offside. However if these were questionable the next refereeing decision was absolutely outrageous as Jay Magee climbed highest in the box, headed the ball against the post and after a goalmouth scramble a Linfield defender controlled the ball with his hand and hacked clear - nothing given.
It would hardly have mattered though in a game so one-sided it would've been stopped if it were boxing, and as the clock neared 90 Aaron Burns netted twice in quick succession to make it 4-0 to the Blues who - truth be told - didn't have to get out of first gear.
An awful performance and result to match then ended Glentoran's five game run without a loss but they will hope to get back to winning ways on Saturday as they host Glenavon at the Oval, kick-off 3pm.
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Glentoran: Morris, Holland, Kane, Magee, Gordon, Scullion, McCullough, Caldwell, Morrow, Smyth & Allen.
Subs: Gibson for Holland (45) & Lavery for Scullion (70).
Unused: Hogg, Patton & Nelson.