Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 2-0 Dungannon Swifts

Sat, 10/04/2021 - 18:59

There was just one change to the starting line up from the team which took the field at the Ballymena Showgrounds last Tuesday evening. Caolan Marron was on the bench for today’s game with Hrvoje Plum coming into the midfield and Rhys Marshall dropping into the right-back slot.

Last Saturday it took the Glens 35 minutes to go in front against Portadown; today it was just 3. Ryan Mayse was pressurised by Gael Bigirimana and Rhys Marshall, Marshall taking possession and finding Robbie McDaid on the right touchline. McDaid then clipped a delightful ball into the penalty area. Rory Donnelly controlled it on his chest before volleying it home from 8 yards out past a helpless Roy Carroll. It was an excellent finish from a striker very much in form and his 7th goal of the season.

On 5 minutes Robbie McDaid broke clear on the right once again and fired another cross into the penalty area but the Swifts veteran keeper came and claimed it to deny the two Donnelly brothers. Glentoran skipper, Marcus Kane was crudely hacked down on the touchline midway inside the Dungannon Swifts half by full back Caolin Coyle but surprisingly the challenge went unpunished by referee Tavinder. Kane was in the action again on 10 minutes when he burst into the box and appeared to be taken down but again nothing was given. Midway through the first half Coyle once again took down Marcus Kane to stop another Glentoran attack. This time a free kick actually was awarded but again, no caution!

On 27 minutes the Glens almost doubled their advantage. A deep cross from Kane on the left was met on the volley by Robbie McDaid but it flashed just wide of the post. The second goal did come though on 29 minutes and what a finish!

The move began deep in the Glentoran half, Hrvoje Plum’s defensive header finding Gael Bigirimana who passed the ball short to Robbie McDaid on the right touchline, 30 yards from his own goal line. McDaid launched the ball down field and as Jay Donnelly raced towards it Roy Carroll came out of his area to head the ball clear. As it dropped out of the air, Rory Donnelly rose to meet it and head it goal-wards and into the City End net. Given that groundsman, William Kirkwood’s pitch stripes are about 6 yards wide, Rory was around 40 yards from goal. An amazing finish! Glentoran’s number 10 seems to be having his own ‘Goal of the Month’ contest.

Rory Donnelly, with his confidence now sky high, went for goal again just 3 minutes later but his 25-yard effort was just wide of the mark. A great ball from Seanan Clucas 7 minutes from the interval, picked out Robbie McDaid. McDaid cut inside the defender but saw his shot deflected wide for a corner. Hrvoje Plum took the set piece and found Paddy McClean but his header flew just past the post.

Halftime: Glentoran 2-0 Dungannon Swifts

The second half was a bit of a non-event with both sides creating little. The Glens remained in control though with Luke McCullough controlling the back line and spraying passes forward as the home side sought a third goal. On 56 minutes another corner from Hrvoje Plum found Robbie McDaid at the back post but he couldn’t keep his header down.

Just after the hour mark there was a chance for the Co Tyrone side to pull a goal back when Rhyss Campbell was through on goal, albeit looking suspiciously offside! Rory Brown though made an excellent save to preserve the Glens 2-goal advantage. The Swifts had another half chance on 67 minutes but Seanan Clucas got in a great defensive block to deny Michael Carvill from the edge of the box.

Glentoran made a couple of changes to freshen things up; Ciaran O’Connor and Jamie McDonagh coming on to replace Hrvoje Plum and Jay Donnelly however it was stoppage time before we had another real chance on goal. The Glens were awarded a free kick midway inside the Dungannon half. Jamie McDonagh played the ball into the area where Robbie McDaid got a strike on target only to be denied by Roy Carroll. McDaid picked up an injury in the process and was replaced for the final minute of added time by Cricky Gallagher.

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: Brown, Marshall, McCullough, McClean, Kane (c), Bigirimana, Plum (O’Connor 64), Clucas, J. Donnelly (McDonagh 72), McDaid (Gallagher 90+2) & R. Donnelly.