Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 3-1 Dungannon Swifts

Sat, 05/11/2022 - 19:10

Glentoran returned to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership following a 3-1 victory at the Bet McLean Oval this afternoon. It wasn't the straightforward win that the scoreline suggests though with Dungannon Swifts making things really difficult for the home side and it was only when Conor McMenamin netted the third goal on 85 minutes that the home support felt secure.

It took just 15 seconds for Glentoran to register their first effort on target. Jay Donnelly found Marcus Kane on the left and the skipper played a great ball towards the back post. Conor McMenamin met it with a firm header but it was straight at Declan Dunne in the Swifts goal. On 8 minutes a great tackle from the Glentoran captain regained possession in midfield. Shay McCartan then found Conor McMenamin on the right and as he went past John Scott in the area, the Dungannon Swifts full back took him down. Penalty to Glentoran. Jay Donnelly stepped up and although Declan Dunne saved his initial effort, the Glentoran striker slammed home the rebound.

The visitors' first real opportunity came on 11 minutes when they almost caught out the Glentoran back line with a quick corner. The ball was played to Michael O'Connor at the near post but his first time effort flashed wide of the post. The Glens were awarded a second penalty kick just a minute later. Hrvoje Plum robbed John Scott on the right and as he drove towards goal Scott pulled him back. An easy decision for referee Christopher Morrison. Conor McMenamin took over responsibility from Jay Donnelly. Just prior to the set piece though, Michael Ruddy got to his feet and then fell down again inside the box. Surprisingly the referee allowed the spot kick to be taken with a defender in the area! Conor McMenamin drove the ball low to the keeper's left hand side but Declan Dunne got down really well to turn the ball behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Aidan Wilson was unlucky not to add to his goal tally this season; his header being cleared off the line.

Despite that missed penalty, Glentoran were in control of the game and on the half hour mark might have added a second goal. A superb cross-field pass from Terry Devlin picked out Conor McMenamin on the right wing. Once again the NIFL 'Player of the Month' for October went past the full back but his low, dangerous cross was well cut out with both Rory and Jay Donnelly waiting to strike. On 32 minutes the Swifts drew level and what a goal it was! Gerardo Bruna collected a pass in his own half, about 5 yards from the halfway line. He looked up and seeing Aaron McCarey well of his line, went for goal. It was a great strike and the Glentoran keeper had no chance. Certainly a contender for 'Goal of the Season'.

Glentoran tried to hit back. Rory Donnelly did really well on the left before crossing to Conor McMenamin. McMenamin caught the ball on the volley but his shot was well off target. Some slack defensive play by Rhys Marshall and Aidan Wilson saw the home side lose possession deep inside their own half. Michael O'Connor had a great chance to give the Swifts a surprise lead just 3 minutes from the break but his shot was inches past the post. The Glens had a great shout for a third penalty right on halftime when Terry Devlin was taken down in the area but referee Morrison ignored the appeals. 

Halftime: Glentoran 1-1 Dungannon Swifts

The Glentoran defence looked nervy at the start of the second half and the visitors almost took advantage on 48 minutes. A cross from the left was met by Caolin Coyle at the back post but his header was blocked by Paddy McClean before being hacked away. Coyle picked up a facial injury going for goal and after some significant treatment, had to be stretchered off the field. Just past the hour mark a long ball forward caught out the Dungannon defence and Conor McMenamin raced onto it. As Declan Dunne came out, McMenamin lifted the ball over him and towards the Sydenham End goal. Mayowa Animasahun reached the ball though before it could cross the goal line and turned it behind for a corner. The set piece was cleared to Terry Devlin on the edge of the penalty area but he shot was wide.

On 65 minutes the home side introduced three substitutes in an effort to get back in front; Bobby Burns, James Singleton and Danny Purkis coming on for Terry Devlin, Marcus Kane and Jay Donnelly. It was Bobby Burns who started the move two minutes later which saw the Glens finally get their second goal. Burns played the ball forward to Aidan Wilson who flicked it on to Danny Purkis. Purkis controlled it beautifully before slotting the ball to Conor McMenamin. The Northern Ireland international drove the ball low across goal from the corner of the 6-yard box and found the bottom corner. On 70 minutes Dungannon Swifts thought they'd levelled again but the goal was rightly chalked off for a foul on Aidan Wilson by Michael Ruddy. 

Another dangerous ball into the Glentoran box from James Knowles created a decent chance for Rhyss Campbell but his shot was straight at McCarey in the home goal. Glentoran finally got the comfort of a third goal with just five minutes remaining. The home side broke following a Swifts corner and although Declan Dunne cleared the initial danger, Conor McMenamin did really well to block an attempted forward pass from Marc Walsh. The ball broke kindly to Danny Purkis who did really well to hold off a couple of defenders before playing McMenamin in. Picking the ball up on the edge of the box, Conor McMenamin drove into the area before calmly slotting it past a helpless Declan Dunne. 

In the final minute substitute Ally Roy set up Danny Purkis who drilled the ball home, only to be denied by an offside flag. Then in stoppage time Declan Dunne made an excellent save to deny Purkis once again. With the three points secured, the Glens return to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table. It wasn't the most convincing performance of the season but the team stuck at it and ground out the result. 

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c) (Singleton 65), Wilson, McClean, Plum, Devlin (Burns 65), McCartan (Murray 83), J. Donnelly (Purkis 65), R. Donnelly (Roy 88) & McMenamin.