Two late goals from Stephen McAlorum and Conor McMenamin gave Glentoran their second win over Carrick Rangers in the space of 4 days. Eddie Patterson made two changes from Wednesday’s league cup meeting between the two sides with Steven McCullough and the injured Jay Magee being replaced by George Gray and Marcus Kane.
Before kick-off a minute's silence was observed in memory of Billy McClure.
The game started fairly brightly with Carrick left back Aaron Traynor rifling a shot wide within the opening minute. Glentoran then grew into the game but only managed to forge one clear cut chance in the opening half hour, Steven Gordon lofted a through ball delicately over the Carrick defence for Fra McCaffrey who outpaced his man and lobbed the onrushing Brian Neeson but couldn’t find the net.
In a first half short of quality the visitors caused several problems, after 20 minutes two ex-Glentoran forwards combined when Mark Miskimmon drove past George Gray and found Gary Browne, his effort was blocked and scrambled behind. Elliott Morris was called into serious action for the first time after half an hour when he rushed out and dived smartly at the feet of another former Glentoran player Kyle Cherry who had been played through. From the resulting throw in the ball broke to Miskimmon but he scuffed his shot straight at Morris. Glentoran probed towards the end of the half but headers wide from Steven Gordon and David Scullion were the closest the Glens came before the half. Half time 0-0.
The halftime break saw the introduction of Kristian Gibson for George Gray but it was again the visitors who threatened first. A corner kick from Conor McCloskey was almost met by a sliding Andrew Doyle but Morris was able to gather. Marcus Kane then went close at the other end his effort being tipped over for a corner with what was the only other goalmouth action in the first 15 minutes of the second half. In truth it looked like a moment of magic would be needed to spark the game into life and it was nearly provided by Carrick’s Ryan Kane on the hour mark. Wille Garrett was adjudged to have handled the ball 30 yards out and Kane curled the resulting free kick onto the crossbar with Elliott Morris seemingly beaten in the home goal. After that, both sides continued to probe without creating much in the way of clear cut chances. The introduction of Conor McMenemin after an hour gave Glentoran a lift, making them look a more direct, attacking threat. Indeed not long after coming on, he stung the palms of keeper Neeson with a hard driven ball from the left.
Glentoran were inches from taking the lead in the 75th minute, Stephen McAlorum brought the ball down in a scramble and teed up Steven Gordon who curled the ball onto the post from 20 yards with Neeson at full stretch. At that moment most inside the Oval were probably thinking it was going to be a day of frustration for the home side but with 7 minutes remaining the breakthrough came. The Carrick defence cleared a cross as far as Marcus Kane, his left footed shot appeared to be heading wide until it hit Stephen McAlorum. McAlorum controlled it, settled himself and calmly slotted the ball low to Neeson’s right to give the Glens the lead.
The home side almost doubled their lead two minutes later when Curtis Allen latched onto a loose backpass but could only shoot wide from a tight angle. The Glens then proceeded to try and wind the clock down, keeping the ball in the Carrick half but almost paid the price for losing possession when from a late Carrick cross Mark Surgenor found himself with a free header 8 yards from goal but thankfully for Glentoran he missed the target. Having almost dropped two late points, Glentoran killed the game off with the best move of the match. A quick counter attack saw 5 attackers take on 3 Rangers defenders and two substitutes combined to add the second goal. Jonny Smith who replaced Scullion with 10 minutes remaining played a great through ball to McMenamin, he cut back inside onto his left foot and smashed the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the area. Full time Glentoran 2-0 Carrick Rangers.
An important three points in what was in truth a poor game, the introduction of McMenamin was probably the aspect which turned the game in Glentoran’s favour. Shortly after the game came the news that Eddie Patterson had been relieved of his position as manager of Glentoran so it will be a different face in the dugout in a week’s time when the Glens travel to take on bottom side Warrenpoint at Milltown.
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Glentoran: Morris, Gray (Gibson 45), Garrett, Holland, Kane, Addis, Gordon, McAlorum, Scullion (Smith 79), McCaffrey (McMenamin 60), Allen. Subs not used: Hogg, McCullough.