Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 4-0 Ballymena United

Sat, 13/11/2021 - 18:53

Jay Donnelly was the headline maker again as the Glens hit 4 past Ballymena United at the Bet McLean Oval in today's Danske Bank Premiership fixture. 

Glentoran hit the front in the first minute. Luke McCullough played a pass to Bobby Burns on the left and he in turn, played the ball on to Seanan Clucas on the corner of the penalty area. Clucas drove towards the by-line before cutting the ball across goal. Conor McMenamin and 3 Ballymena United defenders missed it but Jay Donnelly didn't. Glentoran's top scorer this season fired the ball past Jordan Williamson from 6 yards out with his left foot. On 8 minutes the home side were almost caught out with a quick free kick; Luke McCullough turning the ball behind for a corner. The resulting set piece found United skipper Leroy Millar but he headed over.

A couple of minutes later another corner from the visitors wasn't properly dealt with and Patrick McClean had to clear off his own goal line. On the quarter hour mark, a corner from Hrvoje Plum found Luke McCullough in the 6-yard box but he couldn't keep his shot down and United escaped. On 19 minutes Ballymena United were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal. Caolan Loughran took it but was well off target. Moments later the Glens broke down field and almost netted a second. Conor McMenamin's initial shot was blocked but when the ball fell back to him he set up Robbie McDaid. McDaid's shot looked to be going in before a deflection took it behind for a corner. Bobby Burns set up the home side's next opportunity, crossing to find Hrvoje Plum but the Croatian midfielder was wide of the mark with his header. 

With 33 minutes played, a quick throw in on the United left almost resulted in an equaliser. Kenneth Kane was allowed to travel unchallenged and struck a great effort which Ross Glendinning was relieved to see go inches past the post. Both sides had further chances as the interval approached. McMenamin found Burns on the left but his cross was headed wide by Plum. At the other end, a speculative effort from United's Millar deflected off the head of Caolan Marron and behind for yet another corner. Initially referee Boyce had added 4 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half however just a minute into that Luke McCullough fell awkwardly and had to receive significant treatment on the pitch before being stretchered off; Joe Crowe coming off the bench to replace him. We all wish Luke a very speedy recovery.

In the 8th minute of additional time Ballymena United were pushing forward on the halfway line. As Conor Keeley tried to play the ball forward it was blocked just outside the centre circle by Seanan Clucas. It broke kindly for Conor McMenamin who then went on an exceptional run, outpacing both Keeley and McGrory and crossing from the left. Caolan Loughran failed to cut it out and it fell to Jay Donnelly who showed great composure before slotting in his second to double Glentoran's lead.

Halftime :Glentoran 2-0 Ballymena United.

Having led 2-nil against Warrenpoint Town a week ago, Glentoran would have been keen not to drop their level of performance this time around. And they didn't. In fact it was one of the better second halves we've witnessed this season. United had an early chance from a set piece but the excellent Caolan Marron cleared the danger. A long ball forward 10 minutes into the second half was brilliantly flicked on by Robbie McDaid and created a chance for Conor McMenamin. McMenamin went for a spectacular effort and wasn't far away. Joe Crowe went for goal from range on 59 minutes but didn't trouble Williamson and then just after the hour mark McMenamin went close again, cutting in from the left before unleashing a 25-yard effort that was only just over the bar. 

Robbie McDaid created another chance for McMenamin but the Glentoran number 24 saw this attempt tipped over the crossbar by Jordan Williamson. From the resulting corner, Hrvoje Plum found Jay Donnelly in the 6-yard box but he was denied a hattick by the crossbar. With just under 20 minutes remaining Glentoran made the points safe. Although Jay Donnelly may be credited with the assist, the goal owed much to the fantastic run of Caolan Marron. Marron picked the ball up in the centre circle and drove forward towards the left corner of the 18-yard box. Bobby Burns went on an overlap but Marron opted to drive the ball to Jay Donnelly who was close to the penalty spot. Donnelly was unable to control the ball but it came off him and sat up nicely for Conor McMenamin who drilled it past Willaimson from 15 yards out.

Glentoran now were in total control with the back line of Rhys Marshall, Bobby Burns, Caolan Marron and stand-in skipper, Paddy McClean standing firm, determined to keep a clean sheet. Seanan Clucas might have added a fourth when he glanced another of Hrjove Plum's corners just wide but the Glens did get a deserved fourth in injury time. The goal involved three of our substitutes. Rory Donnelly found Shay McCartan who was making a welcome return from injury. McCartan returned the ball to Donnelly and he played an excellent first time pass to set McCartan clear. Shay McCartan rushed forward, carrying the ball to near the by-line before cutting it back for Ben Cushnie and his left foot effort from 6 yards out flew past the helpless Williamson.

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: Glendinning, Marshall, Burns, Marron, McClean (c), McCullough (Crowe 45+3), Clucas, Plum, J. Donnelly (R. Donnelly 78), McMenamin (Cushnie 84) & McDaid (McCartan 84).