Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 1-2 Linfield

Mon, 26/12/2022 - 17:00

Boxing Day ended in more disappointment and frustration for the sell-out Glentoran support today as a last minute winner from Eetu Vertainen gave Linfield all three points at the Bet McLean Oval to continue the Glens’ recent dismal run of results.

The Glens made three changes from last week’s defeat at Solitude. Skipper Marcus Kane made a welcome return at left back with Bobby Burns moved to a more attacking left-wing position, Hrvoje Plum returned to the midfield in place of Sean Murray, and Jay Donnelly returned to the lone striker role in place of Danny Purkis. Murray, Purkis and Aaron Wightman all returned to the bench.

The first half hour was pretty uneventful with neither keeper called on to make a save. The Glens’ only effort during the period coming from a well hit Terry Devlin long distance effort that went just wide of Chris Johns’ right hand post. Also Seanan Clucas had a penalty claim rejected on 26 minutes when he appeared to be clipped by Cameron Palmer on the edge of the Linfield box. But the claim wasn’t a particularly vigorous one and Raymond Crangle waved play on.

The opening goal came on 39 minutes when Paddy McLean tripped Vertainen in the Glens’ area. .

Aaron McCarey guessed right against his former Dundalk team mate Chris Shields but was unable to get to the penalty.

Halftime: Glentoran 0-1 Linfield

The Glens made one change at half time when Sean Murray replaced  came on for Hrvoje Plum in midfield.

Glentoran started much more purposefully after the break and their increased impetus bore fruit on 53 minutes. Paddy McClean showed all the skill and guile of a winger to wrongfoot first Vertainen then Shields before swinging a perfect left footed cross. Jay Donnelly rose to meet it and place his header well beyond Johns for the equaliser. Jay’s header was very reminiscent of his equaliser at the National Stadium in last year’s Boxing Day fixture.

The major refereeing controversy of the half came on the hour when Bobby Burns, clean through the middle, was brought down by Blues full back Danny Finlayson. Inexplicably referee Crangle let the foul go, much to Finlayson’s relief as he had been booked earlier.

While the Glens were the better side for much of the half, neither side created many clear-cut chances, and it looked like playing out for a draw that wouldn’t have been of much benefit to either side. But that all changed in the very last minute of normal time. Finlayson won the ball in midfield and from his pass Chris McKee – a late sub for Robbie McDaid – sent Vertainen away. The big striker beat three Glentoran defenders to the ball before giving McCarey no chance with his shot from the edge of the box.

Other results today mean the Glens have now fallen to sixth place in the league table, a point behind Coleraine but with two games in hand. We are now ten points behind league leaders Larne and seven points off second and third place, again with two games in hand. With just three points gained out of the last 21 and just one win in our last nine in all competitions the next two Danske Bank Premiership games – both against eighth placed Ballymena United - are must wins if the Glens support is to retain hope for a title charge this season.

Full Time: Glentoran 1-2 Linfield

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c) (Purkis 70), McCullough, McClean, Burns, Plum (Murray 46), Clucas, Devlin, R. Donnelly & J. Donnelly.