Glentoran FC

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Glentoran 4-0 Linfield

Fri, 01/12/2023 - 22:55

Glentoran’s emphatic victory over our old rivals at The Oval this evening secured an excellent end to a strong week for the club. An utterly dominant performance for 90 minutes ensured a matchday experience and result that will live long in the memory for Glentoran supporters.

Glentoran sprinted out of the blocks, setting an early tempo that Linfield simply could not match. The pressure told almost immediately, with the Glens taking the lead after only 3 minutes. A long ball from Singleton down the left flank was picked up by Shay McCartan, who sent Niall McGinn down the left wing before continuing his run into the box. A beautiful two stroke move then sent the Oval into ecstasy: McGinn had the composure to pick McCartan out with an excellent cross ball, with the latter obliging to send a delightful first time shot past Chris Johns into the far-right corner. Cue bedlam in the stands.

Indeed, Glentoran almost made it two directly afterwards on 4 minutes. A sweeping move eventually saw Cammy Palmer make space at the edge of the box, who had the composure to look up and send an accurate through ball into Niall McGinn on the left-hand side of the box. He produced another excellent cross which would become one of the main features of the match, with only a Matthew Clarke block denying Dáire O’Connor from making it two at the back stick. All this, and Linfield had still to make a meaningful touch of the ball.

Glentoran continued to press their intensity, and Dáire O’Connor soon did make it 2 – 0 after just 9 minutes. David Fisher came deep to receive the ball from Shay McCartan, before instantly sending the ever-prominent Niall McGinn free on the wide left. True to form, he produced another magnificent cross which O’Connor made no mistake in atoning for his earlier chance by drilling the ball first time past Chris Johns into the bottom right-hand corner. A shell-shocked Linfield could only watch on as Glentoran continued to produce a performance fitting of the history books.

Glentoran never looked content to rest on a two-goal lead, and the home side continued to rack up the chances throughout the first half. An excellent piece of strength and quick feet from Fuad Sule sent David Fisher through on goal after fifteen minutes, but he couldn’t find the killer touch for a third goal. Niall McGinn also had an excellent curling piledriver from the edge of the box tipped over by Chris Johns on 23 minutes. The winger also turned provider for Dáire O’Connor shortly afterwards; an excellent solo run from the former sent the County Wicklow man through on goal, but he could only shoot straight at Chris Johns with the goal gaping.

However, Glentoran were not to be denied the third goal before the half time whistle that their display absolutely deserved. A long Johnny Russell throw-in beat everybody in the box before the ball bounced up nicely for Niall McGinn at the back post to volley past the despairing Chris Johns to make it 3 – 0 to the home side going up the tunnel. An utterly dominant Glentoran first half performance where their opponents barely troubled Aaron McCarey’s defence at any point throughout the first 45 minutes.

Half Time: Glentoran 3-0 Linfield

Glentoran started the second half with the same intensity as the first, clearly keen to avoid giving Linfield any sense of a potential foothold back into the game. Cammy Palmer saw the first chance of the half, with a crisp shot from just outside the box deflected just wide of the post after 49 minutes. An even better chance would follow for Niall McGinn shortly after. A calamitous piece of defending sent him clean through, but a heavy touch when rounding Chris Johns produced a tight angle that ensured the shot only rippled the side netting.

However, Glentoran were not to be denied the fourth goal that ensured extra gloss for the score line on this special night. A neat piece of midfield interchange between Niall McGinn and Shay McCartan eventually saw the former loop an exquisite switch ball into the path of Dáire O’Connor. The resulting move was arguably the goal of the night; an excellent piece of trickery from the number 11 to get into the box left Matthew Clarke for dead, before a sumptuous, curled finish past Chris Johns laid the final nail into any chance of a Linfield fightback. The Glens were 4 – 0 up and cruising after just 63 minutes on the clock.

With such an emphatic score line racked up, Warren Feeney took an opportunity to ensure the Glentoran supporters could show their heartfelt appreciation for three stand-out performers on the night. Niall McGinn, Dáire O’Connor, and Shay McCartan would all be substituted before the end to rapturous applause around the Oval, with Rory Donnelly, Leon Boyd, and Junior all entering the field of play for some game time. George Feeney also replaced David Fisher with a send-off of appreciation in the 81st minute, who had worked hard to and contributed towards the second goal.

Glentoran comfortably saw the remaining minutes of the game out, limiting their opposition to very little joy or meaningful possession across an entire 90 minutes of football. The final whistle ensured scenes in the stands that will live long in the memory, with many staying well beyond the final whistle to show their support for an excellent team performance. This entirely one-sided performance full of Glentoran highlights will hopefully provide a welcome boost for the rest of the season, and act as a foundation to climb the table throughout December and early 2024.

Full Time: Glentoran 4-0 Linfield

Glentoran: McCarey, Wightman, Russell, Singleton (captain), McClean, Sule, Palmer (R Donnelly 65),  O’Connor (Boyd 75), McCartan (Feeney 82), McGinn & Fisher (Junior 82)

Subs (Not used): Webber, Kelly, Murray

Photographs by PACEMAKER