It was honours even at Inver Park tonight as the 2022-23 Danske Bank Premiership got underway. There were few clear cut chances in the game with Larne probably shading the first half and the Glens looking the better side after the break.
With Patrick McClean suspended, Glentoran had Aidan Wilson making his competitive debut in the centre of defence and the number 5 was certainly a candidate for 'man of th match'. Skipper, Marcus Kane filled the other central defensive position with Rhys Marshall and Bobby Burns making up the back four. In midfield, returning from injury, was Sean Murray alongside James Singleton and Joe Crowe with Jay & Rory Donnelly joining Conor McMenamin leading the line.
The first chance of the game came the way of the home team after an error by Bobby Burns allowed Ben Doherty to pick up possession and get a shot in on goal. His effort was deflected wide but from the resulting corner, Lee Bonis saw his header hit the outside of the post and go wide. On 6 minutes we had the customery late tackle from Mark Randall. This time Joe Crowe was on the receiving end and referee Tony Clarke was perhaps a little lenient in not producing a card.
On 11 minutes a dangerous cross from Conor McMenamin on the left was just too high for Rory Donnelly. Two minutes later our Northern Ireland international, McMenamin, delivered another excellent ball into the middle. This time Rory Donnelly did get his head on it but his effort was straight at the keeper. On the quarter hour mark Joe Crowe was on the end of another late tackle. Paul O'Neill was the culprit this time and perhaps was lucky to be only shown a yellow card. 20 minutes in and a foul on James Singleton about 20 yards from goal gave the Glens a great opportunity to test Rohan Ferguson in the home goal but Sean Murray fired over the bar.
On 27 minutes a long range effort from Ben Doherty had to be turned behind by Aaron McCarey. Following a water break, Larne were on the attack again with Bonis firing in a dangerous cross from the right which Rhys Marshall did really well to clear. 10 minutes from the break a cross from Rory Donnelly on the right had to be turned behind by Albert Watson. From the corner Jay Donnelly saw his header deflected behind. On 40 minutes another moment of controversy involving Mark Randall as he elbowed James Singleton. Randall somehow escaped with just a yellow card and the Glens were temporarily down to 10 men as Singleton had to leave the field for treatment.
In first half stoppage time Mark Randall's mishit cross almost caught out Aaron McCarey but the Glens keeper managed to turn the ball over the bar and then save from Bonis from the resulting corner.
Halftime: Larne 0-0 Glentoran
2 minutes after the break Jay Donnelly almost made the most of a half chance, fizzing a shot inches wide of the post. Moments later he had perhaps Glentoran's best opportunity of the game. He tried to place the ball in the corner but Ferguson did well to deny him, making an excellent save. On 51 minutes a superb ball sent Sean Murray away on the left and his low cross looked destined to find Rory Donnelly before being cut out by the Larne defence.
Lee Bonis headed just wide from a Leroy Miller cross and then a snap shot from Paul O'Neill wasn't too far off target. Both sides made changes to try and force a winner but it wasn't to come. Fuad Sule shot well wide from the edge of the area and then in stoppage time Rory Donnelly's effort was well held by Rohan Ferguson.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Burns, Wilson, Kane (c), Crowe (Plum 67), Murray (O'Connor 78), Singleton, McMenamin, J. Donnelly (Roy 78) & R. Donnelly.