A Howard Beverland own goal and a superb finish from David Scullion gave Glentoran a somewhat flattering 2-0 victory over Coleraine at the Oval this afternoon. Eddie Patterson named an unchanged starting XI after the midweek draw with Portadown and saw his side take the lead after just nine minutes. Curtis Allen tried to work a one-two with Fra McCaffrey on the edge of the Coleraine box but McCaffrey’s return pass was intercepted by Howard Beverland and the Coleraine captain was unfortunate to toe poke the ball into the bottom corner of his own net, leaving goalkeeper Michael Doherty wrong footed.
Coleraine endeavoured to hit back immediately and new signing Darren McCauley was prominent for the visitors, his curling effort bringing a great save from Aaron Hogg after the Glens had failed to clear a corner. On the quarter hour mark former Glentoran striker Mark Miskimmin robbed David Howland and sent in a low cross which was cleverly dummied by McCauley only for Michael Hegarty to blast over the bar when he perhaps should have done better. The Glens also continued to create chances with Curtis Allen miskicking in front of goal from a Kym Nelson cross. On thirty three minutes the home side produced the best move of the game involving McAlorum, Allen and McCaffrey which ended with a close range David Howland header being superbly blocked by Doherty. Right on the half time whistle Doherty again came to Coleraine’s rescue, keeping out Scullion’s low drive and somehow deflecting Allen’s follow up effort over the bar.
At half time the Glens were forced into a substitution, Jonathan Addis replacing the injured Jay Magee, and just four minutes into the second period Kym Nelson was stretchered off with what looked like a serious injury, Steven Gordon taking his place in midfield. The ill fortune seemed to knock the Glens completely out of their rhythm as Coleraine dominated proceedings and the home side continually gave away possession for the first twenty five or so minutes of the second half. However Oran Kearney’s side failed to capitalise with McCauley, Neil McCafferty and Ian Parkhill all squandering excellent chances to test Hogg. Indeed the Glentoran ‘keeper had no real saves of significance to make and was confidently handling any crosses thrown in by the Coleraine wide men. The Glens gradually began to gain some sort of foothold in the game once again and with eight minutes left should have made the points safe after winning their first corner of the half. The Coleraine defence failed to clear effectively and when the ball was returned into the box it bounced all the way through to Curtis Allen six yards out, but his left foot shot came back off the cross bar when it looked easier to score.
However just a couple of minutes later there was relief for the home fans as the Glens sealed the points with their second. Stephen McAlorum sent substitute Danny McKee clear with a defence splitting pass but Doherty was quickly out at the young striker’s feet to block. The ball fell for a Coleraine defender whose poor clearance went straight to David Scullion who sent a superbly controlled left foot volley back into the vacant net from twenty yards. In the dying minutes McAlorum and McKee both had chances to make the final score even more flattering for the Glens but in the end the home contingent were more than happy to go home with the three points.
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Match highlights and managers reaction on BBC Sport NI HERE
Aaron Hogg, Barry Holland, Jay Magee (sub Jonathan Addis half time), Calum Birney, Marcus Kane, Kym Nelson (sub Steven Gordon 49 mins), Stephen McAlorum, David Howland, David Scullion, Fra McCaffrey (sub Danny McKee 67 mins), Curtis Allen.
Little Lily's Bistro 'Man of the Match' - Calum Birney