A hattrick from Jay Donnelly and a brace for Danny Purkis gave the Glens a comfortable win at the Bet McLean Oval this afternoon. The result returned the Glens to 4th place in the Danske Bank Premiership but things aren't looking too good for Portadown who sit 6 points adrift at the bottom of the table with just 5 games remaining.
Prior to kick off an impeccable minute's silence was observed as we remembered Brian Waters and Bailie Hardy who both sadly passed away this week.
Shay McCartan had recovered from the knock he suffered against Carrick Rangers a fortnight ago however Aidan Wilson was still missing so skipper, Marcus Kane was again in central defence with James Singleton at left back. The home side were out of the blocks quickly and had Portadown under pressure in the early stages. A quick throw in by James Singleton found Marcus Kane but his shot failed to trouble Ondrej Mastny in the visitors' goal. A quick release from Aaron McCarey to Shay McCartan gave the Glens number 7 the chance to send Danny Purkis away down the right but his cross was just too high for Jay Donnelly in the area.
On 16 minutes the home support began a minute's applause in memory of Bailie Hardy. As the noise faded the opening goal arrived. Niall McGinn and Bobby Burns worked a short corner before McGinn fired a right-footed cross into the danger area. Jay Donnelly met it and headed home from 6 yards. 4 minutes later there was a half chance for Marcus Kane but his sliced shot was easily gathered by the Ports' keeper. Glentoran were dominant now and James Singleton just failed to get a touch on a cross from Danny Purkis. On 25 minutes McCartan and Purkis linked well to create another chance for Jay Donnelly but his shot was blocked and cleared. Moments later Shay McCartan went close after being set up by Jay Donnelly.
Glentoran doubled the lead on 28 minutes. Terry Devlin won possession about 10 yards inside his own half before sliding a sublime pass forward for Jay Donnelly. Donnelly carried the ball into the penalty area before calmly slotting it past Ondrej Mastny from around 12 yards. It was almost 3 within a minute. Terry Devlin's quick throw in found Niall McGinn in the penalty area and his snap shot had to be tipped over the bar by the Portadown keeper. Terry Devlin was in the thick of the action at the other end on 33 minutes, putting in a great block to deny Stephen Teggart. Shortly afterwards there was another chance for the visitors but Joshua Archer was denied by a great tackle from James Singleton.
Danny Purkis then set up another chance for Shay McCartan on 37 minutes but McCartan's curling shot was just wide. The Glens did net a 3rd goal in first half stoppage time though; not one that the Portadown defence will want to see again! Around 30 yards from his own goal, Ondrej Mastny launched a free kick deep into Glentoran territory. James Singleton defended it well before Bobby Burns fired a hopeful ball forward. Patrick McNally tried to head the ball back to his goalkeeper but Ondrej Mastny was still outside of his area. Danny Purkis got to the loose ball first and was able to virtually walk the ball into the net to give the Glens a comfortable halftime lead.
Halftime: Glentoran 3-0 Portadown
James Singleton was off target with the first opportunity of the second half as, once again, the Glens started brightly. It was Portadown though who briefly got back into contention with a goal on 55 minutes. The visitors won a corner on the right and when the ball was delivered into the box, Luke Wilson headed goalwards. The ball crashed off the underside of the bar with Bobby Burns then hooking it away but the officials determined that Wilson's header had actually crossed the line.
Less than a minute had elapsed when Glentoran restored their 3-goal advantage. Danny Purkis robbed Eoghan McCawl and found Shay McCartan. McCartan then played a delightful return ball to Purkis on the edge of the area. Purkis cut inside a couple of defenders before slotting the ball past Ondrej Mastny and into the bottom corner of the Sydenham End net. Portadown's cause wasn't helped when they were reduced to 10 men just before the hour mark. Terry Devlin and Paul McElroy challenged for the ball in midfield and both went to ground. McElroy then appeared to push Devlin in the face and referee Kennedy showed the Ports number 40 a straight red card.
On 64 minutes it became 5-1. Niall McGinn found Rhys Marshall and his pass sent Danny Purkis clear on the right. Purkis then delivered a great cross to the back post where Jay Donnelly was perfectly positioned to head home from close range to complete his hattrick. Manager Rodney McAree then made a number of substitutions and one of them, Rory Donnelly went close on 76 minutes. He got the better of a couple of Reds defenders before curling a fantastic effort inches past the far post. Another minute's applause took place on 77 minutes for Brian Waters and Glentoran might have marked it with another goal but Hrvoje Plum's free kick, played into the penalty area was cleared.
Portadown substitute, Matthew Walker was close on 81 minutes with a 30-yard strike which just cleared the crossbar. In the final minute an effort from Aaron Wightman was blocked but the ball fell kindly to Bobby Burns and he was unlucky to see his shot from the edge of the area shave the outside of the post.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall (Wightman 66), Singleton (Murphy 60), McCullough, Kane (c), Devlin, Burns, McCartan, McGinn (R. Donnelly 66), Purkis (Plum 70) & J. Donnelly (Junior 70)