Goals from Jordan Stewart and Stephen McAlorum helped Glentoran defeat Moyola Park 2-1 this evening. Whilst Glentoran created numerous chances throughout the 90 minutes their inability to kill off the home side left the travelling supporters on edge right until the final whistle.
Glentoran's first opportunity came on 3 minutes with Johnny Addis playing a great through ball to Curtis Allen. Allen's shot was on target but well saved by Marty Farniok in the home goal. 10 minutes later a cynical foul on Jordan Stewart by Steven Kelly resulted in a free kick for the Glens. The ball was deflected for a corner which was met by Calum Birney. The big central defender's header was hooked goalwards by Allen but the effort was just wide of the target. Chris Keenan was called into action on 17 minutes when a long clearance from Farniok reached Chris Dowie. Keenan was quickly off his line though to clear the danger. Fra McCaffrey, who had another excellent game, found Marcus Kane on the edge of the area midway through the half but his effort was well off target. The breakthrough came on 28 minutes. McCaffrey's cross into the area eventually broke to Jordan Stewart and he slammed the ball home from 10 yards. McCaffrey then could have doubled the Glens' lead but his first attempt (31) was deflected wide whilst the second (34) was inches wide of the far post with the keeper beaten. Farniok denied Kane, Allen and O'Hanlon as Glentoran stepped up their game. 5 minutes from the break he was in action again following a stunning 30 yard bullet from Addis. Curtis Allen picked up the loose ball but his shot cannoned back off the crossbar. In the final minute of the half the Moyola Park keeper was busy again; this time gathering Calum Birney's drive at the second attempt.
Glentoran were to rue those missed chances with less than a minute gone in the second half. A drive from the edge of the box struck Addis. It was one of those where the defender was too close and couldn't get out of the way. The referee decided, harshly, that it was deliberate hand ball and awarded a penalty. Chris Dowie stepped up and sent Keenan the wrong way and level the tie. On 48 minutes Moyola Park missed a great opportunity to go in front. Niall Henderson lost possession in midfield and the home side broke clear. Michael Walsh should have scored but somehow managed to drag his effort wide! The Glens took a while to get into their stride again but soon began to create more chances. Stewart tested the keeper from the edge of the box and Allen then set up Kane to shoot just wide. Allen had two further efforts saved before Glentoran reclaimed the lead on 62 minutes; and what a goal it was. Captain, Stephen McAlorum collected the ball 25 yards from goal and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner. It was his first goal for Glentoran and it's doubtful he'll ever score a better one. A mistake from Chris Keenan on 67 minutes almost let the home side back into the game but a foul on Johnny Addis in the 6-yard box let the Glens off the hook. Stewart went close again (70) before a Willie Garrett header from a corner was cleared off the line. 12 minutes from time a hopeful free kick into the Glentoran penalty area was spilled by Keenan but he made amends diverting Eugene Gallagher's effort wide. In the final 10 minutes Glentoran really should have put the game to bed. Farniok tipped over from Allen and then a great curling effort from David Scullion was inches off target. Fra McCaffrey brought another great save out of the Moyola Park keeper whilst Curtis Allen hit the crossbar for the second time in the game in the 89th minute.
Glentoran: Keenan, Garrett, Kane, Addis, Birney, McAlorum (capt), Henderson, McCaffrey, Stewart, O'Hanlon and Allen
Subs: Nelson for Henderson (59), Scullion for O'Hanlon (64) and McCullough for Kane (74).