Glentoran recorded their biggest home win of the season, putting 6 past Carrick in tonight's Danske Bank Premiership game at the Bet McLean Oval in front of the SKY TV cameras.
The Glens made the perfect start going in front with just over a minute played. A long ball forward from Dillon Powers was chased by Jay Donnelly. The striker drove the ball across goal where Bailey Hoy's attempted clearance fell straight to the feet of Shay McCartan and he drove it low past a helpless Aaron Hogg. On 6 minutes, a long throw in on the right from the visitors almost caught the Glentoran defence out but Aaron McCarey did really well to hold on to Marcus Kane's back header. Carrick had another opportunity on 12 minutes when Stewart Nixon crossed from the left. Emmett McGuckin met it but couldn't direct his header on target.
Glentoran were the dominant side though and Conor McMenamin tested Aaron Hogg with a shot from the edge of the area. Then another ball forward from Dillon Powers was headed down by Conor McMenamin into the path of Jay Donnelly but he fired wide. There was another chance for 'The Striker' on 20 minutes following a pass from Rhys Marshall but Aaron Hogg turned it behind. Hogg denied Jay Donnelly again on 23 minutes; again Conor McMenamin was the provider but the former Glentoran keeper kept the score at 1-nil. McMenamin created another chance just after the half hour mark but Shay McCartan's shot flew over the crossbar. Carrick then had the opportunity to level things up on 36 minutes when Paddy McClean conceded a free kick on the Glentoran left, just outside the area. The ball was driven goalwards but Jay Donnelly got a great defensive header in, conceding a corner.
A minute later it was 2-nil and this time it was Jay Donnelly in the other penalty area. Shay McCartan and Marcus Kane linked on the left wing with the skipper delivering a great cross into the danger area. Jay Donnelly did brilliantly to take it down before driving it at the Sydenham End goal. Aaron Hogg got a touch on the ball but it was hit too powerfully for him to keep out.
Another goal quickly followed. Hrvoje Plum did really well in midfield before passing forward to Shay McCartan. The Glentoran number 7 in turn picked out Conor McMenamin on the left and he drove into the area before firing a low shot across goal in into the far corner of the net. Right on half time Carrick pulled a goal back when Lloyd Anderson was allowed to travel too far unchallenged and he finished calmly, driving the ball in from around 12 yards. Glentoran almost produced an instant reply when Conor McMenamin drove the ball across goal. Jay Donnelly got a touch on it but the ball went wide of the post. In first half stoppage time a poor foul on Hrvoje Plum gave the home side a free kick, 30 yards from goal. The Croat took the free kick himself but failed to trouble Aaron Hogg.
Halftime: Glentoran 3-1 Carrick Rangers
Glentoran continued to create more chances at the start of the second half. Aaron Hogg did well to save a Conor McMenamin header and then kept out a long range effort from Shay McCartan. At the other end Matthew Carson tried his luck from range but Aaron McCarey watched it fly harmlessly wide. On 53 minutes the 3-goal lead was restored. Marcus Kane put a cross in from the left which wasn't dealt with. Rhys Marshall collected the ball near the by-line though and cut the ball back for Shay McCartan to drive a low shot through a packed defence and into the net, the ball taking a slight deflection off Stewart Nixon.
Just before the hour mark sloppiness at the back gave a chance to Lloyd Anderson but he fired well over. Straight down the other end we went and Rhys Marshall fed Sean Murray in the area. The midfielder was taken down - penalty! Up stepped Jay Donnelly and although Aaron Hogg got a touch on the ball he couldn't keep keep it out. 5-1 Glentoran with Jay Donnelly netting his 28th goal of the season. Marcus Kane went close with a curling effort from the left corner of the 18-yard box and the Shay McCartan missed a great chance to grab his hattrick when substitute Rory Donnelly played him through. McCartan clipped the ball over Aaron Hogg but also over the crossbar.
Just past the midway point of the second half Marcus Kane picked out Shay McCartan. His low drive was well saved by Aaron Hogg only for substitute Michael O'Connor to poke the ball home. Unfortunately for O'Connor the goal was ruled out for offside. Michael O'Connor turned provider for Glentoran's 6th on 84 minutes when he played a great ball to fellow substitute Jordan Jenkins, the young forward firing home his first senior goal for the club. In the final minute Carrick Rangers grabbed a second from long range. Darren Cole, seemingly distracted missed the ball from Rhys Marshall and Emmett McGuckin was able to shoot into an unguarded net. There was almost a 7th in added time for the Glens but Aaron Hogg held on to Rory Donnelly's curling shot.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c) (Burns 76), Marron (Cole 56), McClean, Murray (M.O'Connor 66), Plum, Powers, McCartan, McMenamin (R. Donnelly 56) & J. Donnelly (Jenkins 84).