Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 3-1 Glenavon

Sat, 20/03/2021 - 18:46

Glentoran fought back from going a goal behind to record a 3-1 victory at the Oval this afternoon in the Danske Bank Premiership with Dale Gorman scoring in between two goals from Jay Donnelly.

Robbie McDaid was missing today having aggrevated a groin injury at Mourneview Park on Tuesday night. Ciaran O'Connor was also out of the squad following the extremely poor, unpunished, tackle on him in the midweek fixture. O'Connor has to wear a protective boot and the midfielder may be out for a few weeks. Caolan Marron and Cricky Gallagher were on the bench for this one with Dale Gorman, Gael Bigirimana and Hrvoje Plum all restored to the starting XI. 

Glentoran started quite brightly and a good link up between Marcus Kane and Rory Donnelly created the first decent opportunity of the game with 5 minutes on the clock. Rory Donnelly's cross was met by Jay Donnelly and he was unlucky to see his powerful volley strike a defender. Following a foul on Marcus Kane, Hrvoje Plum swung a good free kick into the box and Rory Donnelly just failed to get on the end of it. On 17 minutes we had another shocking tackle, similar to the one which ended Ciaran O'Connor's game on Tuesday night. This time the perpatrator was James Singleton with Hrvoje Plum the victim. Referee Christopher Morrison did take action though, correctly awarding the Glenavon skipper a yellow card. Fortunately Hrvoje Plum was able to resume after treatment. 

Midway through the half we witnessed another very poor challenge, this time by Matthew Snoddy who was also the recipient of a yellow card. Moments later Gael Bigirimana was also cautioned following an innoculous challenge on Daniel Purkus. The reaction of Purkus was somewhat embarassing but his yell and excessive rolling about had the desired affect from a Glenavon perspective! The visitors went in front on 25 minutes. A throw in deep in the Glentoran half found Conor McCluskey on the corner of the 18-yard box. He hooked the ball towards the back post where Matthew Fitzpatrick, Rhys Marshall and Luke McCullough all jumped for the ball. The ball appeared to come off Fitzpatrick's raised arm and then McCullough's head before ending up in the corner of the net but the goal was awarded.

The lead though lasted less than 2 minutes. Dale Gorman had possession of the ball about 30 yards from goal. He clipped the ball over Andrew Doyle to Jay Donnelly and the Glentoran number 30 then lifted it over the advancing keeper, Craig Hyland. Although Hyland got a touch on it the ball still found the corner of the City End goal. It was Jay Donnelly's 12th goal of the season, drawing him level with top scorer, Robbie McDaid.

Glentoran went in front on 38 minutes. The ball was played forward to the right corner of Glenavon's 18-yard box with Rory Donnelly and Aaron Harmon both in the vicinity. Harmon slipped and Rory Donnelly took possession of the ball, sliding it past Doyle and into the path of Dale Gorman who slotted it home from 7 yards past the helpless Hyland. Just before the break the home side were almost gifted a third when a mix up at the back saw the Glenavon keeper rush out of his box but only find Conor McMenamin with his clearance. McMenamin, about 15 yards inside the Glenavon half but out on the touchline, fired the ball towards the open goal but it drifted just wide of the post.

Halftime: Glentoran 2-1 Glenavon

Glentoran, attacking the Sydenham End in the second half and with the advantage of a stiff breeze, went close on 50 minutes when a ball from the right was missed by Hyland before a Glenavon defender turned it onto his own crossbar. Dale Gorman tried to return it towards the goal but it was eventually hacked clear. 3 minutes later excellent interplay between Hrvoje Plum and Conor McMenamin ended with a lovely through ball for Jay Donnelly. Craig Hyland was quickly off his line though and denied Jay, saving with his legs. Just after the hour mark there were chances for both teams in quick succession. Following a Glenavon throw-in, Greg Moorhouse headed over the bar and then within a minute Glentoran broke down the left with Marcus Kane putting in a dangerous cross which Rory Donnelly just failed to connect with.

The home side still looked the most likely to add to their goal tally and midway through the second period a free kick from Conor McMenamin was headed behind for a corner. Rory Donnelly then saw his curling 20-yard effort well held by the Lurgan Blues keeper before another chance for Jay Donnelly was dragged across goal with nobody able to get the decisive touch on it. A quickly taken free kick by Gorman released Rhys Marshall and he found Conor McMenamin who fired over from the 'D'.

The points were secured with 7 minutes remaining when Jay Donnelly netted his 13th goal of the season. Andrew Doyle conceded yet another free kick midway inside his own half and although it was at least 30 yards from goal, Dale Gorman decided to have a go. Gorman's powerfully struck set piece tooka deflection of a Glenavon player and fell nicely for Jay Donnelly who slotted it home from close to the penalty spot. Glenavon appealed in vain for offside but the goal stood. Glentoran had the two goal advantage their display deserved and they managed the game well for the remaining 7 minutes plus 3 minutes of added time, with the back four and Gael Bigirimana controlling possession.

There was almost a fourth goal near the end when two of our substitutes combined. Dale Gorman linked with Jamie McDonagh before the ball was eventually played to Seanan Clucas. Unfortunately Clucas dragged his effort just wide of the far post but it didn't matter as the team had bounced back from Tuesday's disappointing defeat to close in on third place in the Danske Bank Premiership table. We now sit just 2 points behind Larne with a superior goal difference and a game in hand. There's no time to sit back though. Next Tuesday evening brings another tricky away game at Warrenpoint Town.

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: Brown, Marshall, McCullough, McClean, Kane (c), Bigirimana, Gorman, Plum (Clucas 65), McMenamin (McDonagh 80), J. Donnelly (Mitchell 85) & R. Donnelly.