Glentoran came into this game hoping to repeat the success of their 2nd round Irish Cup game against Larne two weeks ago at Inver Park.
Glentoran were made to work hard that night to break down a Larne team who sat very deep, but it looked like it would only be a matter of time before the home side took the lead, Demi Vance’s thunderous header coming back off the post whilst Smith in the Larne goal was forced into a couple of acrobatic saves to deny shots from Beattie and Andrews.
However despite the early dominance it took until the 32nd minute before a sizeable Ashfield crowd were treated to a goal. Skipper Jessica Foy advanced through the centre before playing the ball wide to Demi Vance on the left wing. Her pinpoint pass into the box found the waiting Kerry Beattie and the league’s leading goalscorer made no mistake from close range.
Glentoran extended their lead four minutes later, this time it was Emily Wilson on the right wing linking up with Joely Andrews at the near post, Andrews scoring her 12th goal of the season moving her into third place in the chase for the golden boot, five behind teammate Kerry Beattie.
However not for long, Wilson’s pace too much for the Larne defence again, in a carbon copy of Joely’s goal, Wilson darted around the back of the defence before pulling the past back to the near post, this time Kerry Beattie ran onto the pass and placed the ball into the corner of the net for her 18th league goal of the season. 3-0 to Glentoran.
A minute later a hopeful, bouncing ball down the middle created confusion between the Larne goalkeeper and defenders, Emily Wilson first to react with delicately placed lob over the scrambling keeper, making it 4-0 in the 39th minute.
Glentoran won the ball back immediately after kick off and once again played it wide to Emily Wilson. Wilson dipped her shoulder and it looked for all watching that we were in for another burst of pace on the outside. Instead she set herself and placed the ball perfectly into the top left hand corner of the goal, her second in as many minutes and the goal of the night.
Larne had conceded five goals in eight minutes and were no doubt looking forward to the half time whistle. Emily Wilson had other ideas, the ball played wide to her again in the 42nd minute, anybody’s guess what she’d do next. This time she combined her pace and strength to round the Larne left back before firing low and hard across the goalkeeper and into the far left-hand corner. Three goals in four minutes for Emily Wilson, and as good a right wing performance as you could hope to see.
Glentoran made two substitutions just before the hour mark and it took just six minutes for Jenna McKearney to find Kerry Beattie in the box, the striker taking one touch to control the ball past the onrushing defender and a second to place it past the onrushing goalkeeper. Her third of the night and her 19th league goal of the season. With six games remaining she’s now just four goals off her golden boot winning season record of 23 in 2021.
The applause for Beattie’s hattrick continued as she was replaced by Rachel Rogan. Rogan, who celebrated her birthday on Thursday night, was celebrating again in both the 68th and 72nd minute, scoring twice in four minutes just seven minutes after coming on. The first assisted by Demi Vance’s pace on the left, the second by a clever ‘dink’ into the box from replacement left back Sarah Tweedie.
Finally with the game heading to a close, another Demi Vance ball into the box was cleared only as far as Jenna McKearney. Her shot from the edge of the box had both the power and precision to beat the Larne keeper and capped an impressive Glentoran performance. Ten goals to the good, next up its Lisburn Ladies at The Bluebell Stadium on Friday evening in the quarter final of the Irish Cup.
McKinnon, Timoney, McMaster (McKearney 59’), Bailie (Tweedie 59’), Foy, McCarron, Andrews, Caldwell (Neill 79’), Vance, Beattie (Rogan 68’), Wilson (Weir 79’)
Unused subs: McConaghey, Cameron