Two goals in the opening 12 minutes were enough to give the Glens the points at the Oval this evening in the Danske Bank Premiership although a late Portadown strike did make for a nervous finish.
Recent signing, Rhys Marshall was in the starting line up as manager, Mick McDermott tinkered with the 4-3-3 formation that we've used for most of the season.
The Glens, attacking the City End in the first half, started well and had their first attempt on goal with just 6 minutes played; Hrvoje Plum's shot from the edge of the area going narrowly wide. 2 minutes later though we did edge in front. Referee Tim Marshall awarded the home side a free kick out on the left, midway inside the Portadown half. Hrvoje Plum swung the ball into the danger area and Paddy McClean outjumped Kevin Healy to head home from around the penalty spot. Benjamin Pierce in the visitors' goal did manage to get a hand to the ball but couldn't keep it out.
4 minutes later and it was 2-nil. Rhys Marshall took a quick throw in on the right and found Hrvoje Plum. Plum's cross shot was palmed out by Ports' keeper Pierce but only to Jay Donnelly who slotted it into the corner of the net from 8 yards out. Marshall and Gallagher then linked well on the right before crossing into the box but Robbie McDaid's header was off target. Donnelly then tried his luck from outside the area but this time dragged his shot wide of the post.
Just past the midway point of the first half there was another chance for Glentoran to invrease their advantage but on this occasion Benjamin Pierce made an excellent save to deny Hrvoje Plum. The ball broke to Jay Donnelly but his shot was narrowly wide. Donnelly went close again on 38 minutes following good play by Rhys Marshall. 5 minutes from the break the Glens were awarded another free kick in an almost identical position from where they scored the first goal. Again Plum swung the ball into the danger zone and this time it broke for Luke McCullough but Pierce got down well to deny McCullough his first Glentoran goal.
In the final minute of the half the Glens were given a let off when Stephen Murray had a chance on goal from just inside the box but the big striker fired wide.
Halftime: Glentorran 2-0 Portadown
It was more of the same for the majority of the second half; Glentoran dominating both play and possession and going close to extending their lead. Jay Donnelly went close again 4 minutes in, his shot going just wide. Hrvoje Plum then saw his 25-yard shot take a deflection and with the pace taken off the ball, Pierce made a comfortable save. Another warning for the Glens on 53 minutes though when a deep cross from the left found Stephen Murray at the back post but he couldn't direct his headed on target. Plum headed straight at the Portadwon keeper following a cross by skipper Marcus Kance and the big Croatian then almost turned provider with a cross that Robbie McDaid headed just wide.
Not long after that McDaid raced clear of the Ports defence and was 1 v 1 with the keeper when he appeared to be felled from behind. Referee Tim Marshall looked across at his linesman for assistance but with nothing forthcoming the referee awarded a goal kick, much to McDaid's displeasure! Midway through the half there were a couple of half chances for the Co Armagh side with Stephen Teggart shooting wide and then following a run from midfield, right-back Greg Hall's cross come shot went dangerously close. Ten minutes from time Portadown were given a lifeline. Rory Brown seemed to have kept the ball in play but the linesman on the far side pointed for a corner! The set piece wasn't dealt with well by the Glentoran defence and broke for substitute Adam Salley who hooked it in from close range.
Portadown sensed an equaliser; an equaliser that wouldn't have been deserved but in football when you don't finish off your chances, as happened with the Glens tonight, there's always the danger of a sucker punch. In the 3 minutes of additional time it was the Glens though who should have put the game to bed. Midway through the added time substitute Dale Gorman saw his initial shot blocked before firing the rebound just past the post. Then in the final minute a clearance from Luke McCullough found Robbie McDaid just inside his own half. McDaid raced forward and had only Pierce to beat but the keeper managed to turn the ball away.
Fulltime: Glentoran 2-1 Portadown
Photographs by Pacemaker
Glentoran: Brown, Marron, McCullough, McClean, Kane (c), Bigirimana, Gallagher (Gorman 75), Plum, Marshall, J. Donnelly (O'Neill 77) & McDaid