Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 4-0 Ballymena United

Sat, 23/03/2024 - 22:05

A three-goal burst in six second half minutes made this game – last one before the Sports Direct Premiership split - safe  for Glentoran and sent the team into next week’s Irish Cup semifinal on a high after a traumatic few weeks.

For his first team selection as Glentoran Manager Declan Devine was without Aaron Wightman who was injured in last week’s win at Dungannon and replaced in the starting line up by Daire O’Connor, while Jonny Russell and Charlie Lindsay were on international duty with the Northern Ireland Under 21s. But we were boosted by the welcome return of Jay Donnelly to the bench. Harry Murphy also returned to the squad and 17-year-old full back Theo McToal had his first experience with the first team squad.

The Glens dominated the early exchanges but the visitors had the first scoring chance when Calvin McCurry was through on goal but was thwarted by a robust challenge by Luke McCullough.

On 20 minutes Bobby Burns had a shot well saved by Sean O’Neill after good work by O’Connor, Shay McCartan and Niall McGinn. From the resultant corner the Glens took the lead as Luke McCullough hit home after both Paddy McClean and Junior had failed to connect.

The rest of the half remained relatively incident free apart from a header just wide from Paddy McClean and a very harsh booking for Shay McCartan who had won the ball despite a lunge from a Ballymena defender. Particularly harsh as Shay had been the victim of an unpunished heavy challenge early in the game.

Half Time: Glentoran 1-0 Ballymena United

Glentoran started the half positively as Daire O’Connor shot just wide from a McGinn cross. This was followed on the 49th minute when Ballymena’s Michael Place was shown a very harsh red card for a high challenge on Fuad Sule. This was followed by a miss from Bobby Burns after great work by O’Connor.

The Glens made the game safe with a goal on the hour from the in form Daire O’Connor. Aidan Wilson – for the second game running – headed back across the goal from a Singleton cross and O’Connor was well placed to finish.

Next up stepped Shay McCartan for a similar finish after excellent work from Bobby Burns and Junior. O’Connor then wrapped up his Man of the Match performance with his fourteenth of the season after a low. Left wing cross from Niall McGinn who’d been sent clear by James Singleton.

Declan Devine used the rest of the game to recovering subs Seanan Clucas, Jay Donnelly, Seanan Clucas, Harry Murphy and the debutant Theo McToal. All fitted in well and the team performance remained strong following their introduction.

So a second consecutive good win with the goals shared out and a very mobile looking team dominating. Onward to the Big Two semi-final on Friday evening at the Bet McLean Oval.

Full Time: Glentoran 4-0 Ballymena United

Glentoran: McCarey, Wilson, Singleton, McCullough (c) (Marshall 67), McClean (Murphy 79), Sule (McToal 79), Burns (Clucas 67), O’Connor, McGinn, McCartan, Junior (J Donnelly 67)    

Subs (Not used): Webber, McLaughlin

Photography by PACEMAKER