Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 3-1 Glenavon

Sat, 21/10/2023 - 18:57

Glentoran continued to build upon their recent resurgence with a comfortable win over a determined Glenavon side this afternoon at The Oval. An unchanged starting XI from the recent win against Loughgall put in an excellent performance where the three points never looked like leaving East Belfast.

The tone of the afternoon was set from the off, with Junior finishing emphatically from a Glentoran corner after just two minutes on the clock. A slick training-ground move between corner-taker Cameron Palmer and Jay Donnelly eventually saw the former whip a dangerous cross into the box, for Junior to fire first-time past Rory Brown in the Glenavon goal. Indeed, Glentoran nearly had an instant second moments later; Dáire O’Connor bravely won the ball in the final third, before shooting narrowly wide from just outside the box.

Glentoran continued to maintain a high tempo, and the pressure eventually told when Junior slotted his and Glentoran’s second goal of the afternoon on 12 minutes. After some scrambling defending from the Glenavon back four, the ball eventually found its way to Dáire O’Connor wide right. He calmly slotted the ball to Cameron Palmer in the centre of the box, who had the composure to pass first time for Junior to slot into the bottom corner from 5 yards. Protestations from Glenavon keeper Rory Brown towards the fourth official directly after the goal saw him receive the first yellow card of the match.

Junior – who remained a continual threat all afternoon – was also unlucky to be denied a spectacular hat trick on 30 minutes. A poor clearance from the Glenavon goalkeeper presented Junior with a chance which flashed narrowly wide from 30 yards. A good ball from Luke McCullough on 42 minutes also presented a chance for Jay Donnelly, who forced an excellent save out of Rory Brown However, the Glens weren’t to be denied a third from the resulting corner; Paddy McClean headed in a Cameron Palmer corner to make it 3-0 heading into the tunnel at half-time.

Half time: Glentoran 3 Glenavon 0.

Glentoran picked up the second half directly where they left off. A great piece of individual skill from Junior on the centre circle directly from kick-off set Bobby Burns free down the left – producing a cross that Jay Donnelly sent just over the crossbar. James Singleton also flashed an inviting cross into the box on 50 minutes, with the ball just evading Dáire O’Connor at the back post with the goal gaping.

However, a dogged – and much improved – Glenavon performance in the second half prevented Glentoran from fully getting into their stride thereafter. The introduction of Aaron Prendergast for Glenavon shortly after the hour signalled a marked turn of fortune for the visitors. Indeed, he was put clean through one-on-one with Aaron McCarey after 69 minutes, only to blaze wildly over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy. He also found himself missing an even better chance shortly after; Glenavon’s Jack Malone fired a pile-driver from distance which was well saved by McCarey, with the ball spilling to Prendergast for Aaron McCarey to pull off an impressive second save at point-blank range.

Warren Feeney attempted to re-inject a sense of spark into Glentoran throughout the final twenty minutes by introducing a flurry of substitutions – with David Fisher, Josh Kelly, Niall McGinn, Marcus Kane, and Shay McCartan all entering the field of play before full time. However, Glenavon were not to be denied the consolation goal that their second half performance probably deserved, with Jack Malone executing an excellent free kick from the edge of the box in the final minute of injury time.

In summary, Glentoran’s excellent first half performance ensured the points were rarely in doubt throughout the afternoon, with the final score line probably reflecting the adage of a tale of two halves. Glens fans stayed in numbers after the final whistle to congratulate their team after another encouraging performance which hopefully represents our season getting back on track.

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: McCarey, Wilson (Kane 77), McCullough (c), McClean, Sule, Burns, Singleton (McCartan 80), Palmer (Kelly 71), O'Connor (McGinn 77), J. Donnelly (Fisher 71) & Junior.