Championship One leaders Bangor staged a giant-killing at The Oval to send Glentoran crashing out of the County Antrim Shield.
The Seasiders recorded a 2-1 victory over Eddie Patterson's men in what turned out to be the shock result of the round. A goalkeeping calamity by Aaron Hogg enabled William McBurney to give Bangor the lead with a speculative free-kick five minutes before half-time. Jim O'Hanlon levelled for the Glens three minutes after the restart with a daisy-cutter from thirty yards but Bangor captain Dean Youle's diving header in the 81st minute restored his side's lead and sent them through to the semi-finals.
It was a bitterly cold evening in East Belfast as the Glens played host to a Bangor side brimming with confidence. Garth Scates' side came into the game fresh off the back of an 8-0 win over PSNI and the Championship One leaders remain unbeaten in the league this season.
Eddie Patterson's men came into the game having thrashed Warrenpoint 5-2 after two consecutive defeats in the league. Yet despite the impressive form of Bangor, the Glens were big favourites to progress to the semi-finals. There were a couple of noteworthy landmarks for the occasion as both Jordan Stewart and Johnny Addis made their 50th appearances for the Cock n' Hens. There was also a return to The Oval for Glentoran legend Colin Nixon. The Bangor defender made a record 794 appearances for the East Belfast outfit between 1995 and 2013.
Referee Colin Burns got us under way and Bangor signalled their intent right from the kick off. The County Down side almost took the lead in the 2nd minute but were denied by the superb reflexes of Glentoran 'keeper Aaron Hogg. Bangor winger Jordan Forsythe whipped in a cross from the left-hand side which was met by the head of Richard Gibson. His looping header was tipped onto the bar by Hogg and when the rebound fell to the feet of Bangor striker Andrew Morrow the Glentoran keeper made himself big and was able to claw the shot to safety.
The Glens almost scored in the 11th minute but Jim O'Hanlon could only head Curtis Allen's cross directly at Paul Cairnduff. Bangor almost took the lead in the 17th minute when Andrew Hall went charging down the right flank. The winger was afforded time and space by the Glentoran defence who backed off and allowed him to fizz a shot across the goal which evaded everyone in the middle and went out of play for a goal kick.
It was developing into an open game with both sides intent on attacking. Eddie Patterson's side squandered their best opportunity of the half in the 20th minute when Marcus Kane's miscued shot from the edge of the area rolled into the path of Jim O'Hanlon who fired his first time shot straight at Cairnduff from six yards out. From the resulting corner Curtis Allen's point blank header was palmed up into the air by Cairnduff and cleared but only to the edge of the box where Stephen McAlorum was waiting but his shot was charged down and the danger cleared. Garth Scates' side were always a threat on the break and they created a glorious opening in the 33rd minute when Andrew Hall sent Jordan Forsythe racing clear but the left winger dithered on the ball and was dispossessed. The Seasiders didn't have to wait long though before they deservedly took the lead even if it was under fortuitous circumstances.
The County Down outfit won a free-kick in the 40th minute about 25 yards from goal which William McBurney lined up for a shot. The midfielder curled his shot over the wall and straight at Aaron Hogg. The Glentoran goalkeeper looked to have safely smothered the tame effort but inexplicably allowed the ball to squirm under his body and through his legs into the goal.
The Glens tried to hit back instantaneously as Johnny Addis embarked upon a marauding run from the back. The lanky defender travelled to the edge of the opposition area and played a through ball to Curtis Allen who sliced his shot harmlessly out of play. Bangor had a fantastic opportunity to double their advantage right before half-time but again Jordan Forsythe squandered the chance as Aaron Hogg went a long way towards redemption with some brave goalkeeping. Again Andrew Hall turned provider for Forsythe with an exquisite through ball. The left winger went racing through on goal with only Hogg to beat but the Glentoran 'keeper didn't go to ground until the last second and when Forsythe tried to round him Hogg dived at his feet, smothering the ball.
The Seasiders went into the break with a 1-0 advantage and both teams emerged for the second half unchanged. Whatever Eddie Patterson said at half-time seemed to rejuvenate the Glens as they came flying out of the traps at the start of the second period. Jay Magee fired a shot high over the bar in the 47th minute but the Glentoran faithful only had to wait a further minute before their side restored parity. Despite a hint of offside Jim O'Hanlon drew his side level with a rasping low drive into the bottom left-hand corner from a full 30 yards. It was a fantastic goal and just rewards for their tenacious start to the second half.
The East Belfast outfit then had a flurry of corners which The Seasiders defended resolutely. Jordan Stewart was trying desperately to influence the game but every time he got the ball he was well marshalled by the Bangor defence. Then in the 61st minute and totally against the run of play Bangor almost scored a second goal. Former Glentoran legend Colin Nixon travelled with the ball unchallenged and before he knew it he was just outside the Bangor area. He was intercepted by Marcus Kane and the ball looped up into the path of Andrew Morrow whose powerful first time volley was saved by Aaron Hogg.
The game became scrappy as we approached the final quarter with both sides frequently losing possession. Just when it looked as though a draw was on the cards The Seasiders popped up with a winning goal in the 76th minute. Bangor won a free-kick on the right-hand side of the area and the ball was whipped in by Andrew Hall. Captain Dean Youle stooped to meet the ball with a diving header and scored past Hogg to give the visitors the lead. Youle took a blow to his immaculately groomed head whilst celebrating with is own team mates but was able to play on.
The Glens were unable to create any further clear cut opportunities as Bangor intelligently ran down the clock and secured the win. For The Seasiders the run continues but for the Glens the inconsistency continues and they will be hoping to put things right against Ballymena on Saturday.
Match highlights available HERE
Photographs by Thomas Sewell.
Glentoran: Hogg, Holland, McCullough, Addis, Magee, McAlorum (capt), Henderson, Kane, Stewart, O'Hanlon & Allen.
Subs: Nelson for Kane (65) & McKee for McCullough (81).