All the goals came in the second half as Glentoran eased into the quarter finals of the Irish Cup where they will face Dungannon Swifts at the Oval. There was little to cheer the fans in a nondescript first half and, while the Glens enjoyed the bulk of the possession, chances were few and far between. Steven Gordon fired a shot straight at Armagh ‘keeper Sean Morgan after eight minutes and midway through the half the Armagh defenders were forced to clear off the line from corners twice in quick succession, but the home supporters were left hoping for rather than expecting a goal. The visitors had their moments with Marty Havern hitting a long range effort over the bar and danger man Stephen Murray firing a good chance wide after some poor home defending.
Eddie Patterson’s half time team talk had the desired effect as the Glens came out for the second half with a great deal more purpose and it wasn’t long before they got their noses in front. Curtis Allen hit a free kick into the Armagh box which, despite it being a weak effort, the visiting defenders failed to clear. The ball fell for Steven Gordon who had a right foot shot blocked but followed up with his left to fire into the roof of the net from eight yards. Three minutes later Calum Birney had a good chance to double the lead but sent his header over the bar from a Niall Henderson corner.
However the home side didn’t have long to wait for some breathing space but they had a little luck on their side. Stephen McAlorum linked up with Danny McKee to go clear down the left and sent a high cross into the box which caught on the stiff breeze, deceiving Morgan and sailing over his head and into the back of the net. The Glens were now well in control, retaining possession and leaving Elliott Morris as a virtual spectator, and they added to their tally on seventy minutes. Man of the match Jordan Stewart slid a lovely ball through to Curtis Allen who dinked an equally delightful shot past the advancing Morgan and into the back of the net.
Such was the Glens’ dominance that they started to become a little complacent and a lapse of concentration gave away possession in midfield allowing Armagh to give themselves a glimmer of hope with eleven minutes left. Stephen Murray, scorer of his side’s goal at the Oval last season in the Cup, was set free in the Glentoran box and fired a superb shot into the roof of Elliott Morris’s net from sixteen yards. This stung the Glens back into action and two minutes later the three goal margin was restored as substitutes David Scullion and Fra McCaffrey combined. Scullion broke free on the left and sent in a cross which was missed by two Armagh defenders leaving an unmarked McCaffrey to drive home the fourth at the back post.
A satisfactory afternoon’s work and fortune smiled on the Glens as they were given another home draw in the quarter finals, taking on Dungannon Swifts on 28th February. Next up it’s back to League action as we travel to the Showgrounds to take on Ballymena United in a rearranged game on Tuesday night.
Highlights and manager reaction on BBC Sport NI HERE
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Little Lily's Bistro 'Man of the Match' - Jordan Stewart
Elliott Morris, Barry Holland, Calum Birney, Jonathan Addis, Steven McCullough, Niall Henderson, Steven Gordon, Stephen McAlorum (sub Kym Nelson 77 mins), Jordan Stewart (sub David Scullion 72 mins), Curtis Allen (sub Fra McCaffrey 72 mins), Danny McKee