Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 1 - 2 Larne

Tue, 16/04/2024 - 22:24

Glentoran lost out to Larne in the cruelest of circumstances as Jonny Russell's unfortunate own goal with virtually the last kick gave the Premiership champions all three points at the Oval this evening.  Declan Devine made a number of changes from Saturday's defeat at Coleraine with Harry Murphy, Marcus Kane, Seanan Clucas and Shay McCartan all returning to the starting XI.

Despite Junior bringing a good save from Larne 'keeper Rohan Ferguson early on, the first half was largely controlled by the visitors and they took the lead in the eighth minute.  As the Glens waited in vain for a whistle from referee Keith Kennedy for a foul on Shay McCartan, Chris Gallagher sent Andy Ryan away down the right, he cut inside unchallenged and fired the ball past Aaron McCarey.  Larne went in search of more, Lee Bonis shooting just wide after latching onto a great through ball.

The Glens' only other chance of the half came when McCartan picked up on a defensive error, had his effort from a tight angle well blocked by a defender and his follow up effort was skied over the bar.  Larne should have doubled their lead after 21 minutes when Leroy Millar found acres of space twelve yards out.  However his weak effort was saved by McCarey and Joe Thomson's shot from the rebound was cleared off the line by Paddy McClean.

Half time Glentoran 0 - 1 Larne

Larne continued where they left off in the first half with plenty of possession but without really threatening McCarey's goal.  This seemed to give the Glens some encouragement as they mustered some pressure on the Larne back line with a couple of fruitless corners.  But the equaliser did come in the 57th minute in bizarre circumstances.  McCartan swung a cross from the left in search of Junior but could only find centre back Cian Bolger.  The Larne captain was under no pressure but took a wild swing at the ball to slice over the head of a helpless Ferguson and into his own net.  Unfortunately this proved to be our last real effort on goal as Larne pressed for a winner.  Sean Graham twice brought comfortable saves from McCarey and we had our second slice of luck with fifteen to go.  A Larne corner was headed high in the air by Ryan at the near post, looping to come off the other post and looking mightily close to having crossed the line but ruled out by the officials. 

As the clock ticked down the visitors looked increasingly frustrated as a determined home defence kept them at bay with reasonable comfort.  When the board went up to signal five minutes of stoppage time most home fans would have settled for the point as Larne desperately pressed for a winner.  And it looked as if it we were going to ride our luck as Russell made an outstanding block as Bonis's volley looked destined for the back of the net.  Then came the clearest example you are ever likely to see of how cruel our game can be as just seconds later the young defender stretched to cut out Bolger's ball into the box, only to divert the ball past a wrong footed McCarey and over the line.  In the end the better team went home with the points but a tough one to take nevertheless.

Full time: Glentoran 1-2 Larne

Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Russell, Murphy, McClean, Kane (c) (Burns 81), Sule, Clucas, McCartan (O'Connor 93), Jay Donnelly, Junior (McLaughlin 89)

Subs (not used): Webber, Lindsay, McGinn, McToal

Photography by PACEMAKER