Glentoran FC

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Larne 2-1 Glentoran

Tue, 21/09/2021 - 23:33

A much changed Glentoran side exited this season's Co Antrim Shield following a narrow 2-1 defeat at Larne.

It was a case of Groundhog Day in the early minutes as Mark Randall hit Gael Bigirimana very late with the match officials taking no action! The same player did the same thing at the Oval in a game last season; again there was no punishment! Fortunately Bigirimana was able to continue following a lengthy spell of treatment. The first goal arrived on the quarter hour mark. Andrew Scott's long range effort was superbly tipped over the bar by Ross Glendinning but from the resulting corner, hesitant Glentoran defending allowed Kofi Balmer to poke the ball over the line. Glentoran took a while to create a chance on goal but as the half progressed, began to grow into the game. A 25-yard effort from Ciaran O'Connor lacked power and it was a comfortable save for Michael Argyrides in the home goal. 

On 21 minutes a poor backpass from Larne's Andrew Mitchell presented a chance for Glentoran's Andrew Mitchell but his first touch allowed the chance to pass. Larne countered with a break down the right with the cross being met by David McDaid who headed well wide.Just before the half hour Ben Cushnie did well to get clear on the right. His dangerous cross just eluded Andrew Mitchell who was taken down by the goalkeeper. Glentoran's players appealed for a penalty but referee Morrison pointed for a goal kick! Mal Smith, who had an excellent game at right back, then played in O'Connor who, following a neat turn and shot, saw his effort go wide. On 35 minutes Mal Smith was cautioned for an innocuous trip. Given some of the challenges that proceeded it Mal can count himself very unfortunate that it was for this challenge Mr Morrison finally decided to take action!

9 minutes from the interval Mark Randall's long range effort was hopelessly wide whilst at the other end Seanan Clucas, convinced he'd won a corner, received a yellow card for his reaction from the inexperienced official. Glentoran were pressing for an equaliser in the closing minutes of the half, winning a couple of corners and putting the Larne defence under pressure however they were caught with a sucker punch a minute from the break. A long ball forward caught out the Glens central defenders Marron and Crowe and David McDaid nipped in to lob the ball over Glendinning to double Larne's advantage. Rather than celebrate with his own fans, McDaid decided to taunt the Glentoran fans behind the goal. Referee Morrison appeared to reach for a yellow card to caution the striker (who had already been booked) but then decided against it.

Halftime: Larne 2-0 Glentoran

On 48 minutes Randall finally received a caution following yet another foul on Gael Bigirimana as the Glens pushed forward in search of a goal. Too often though it was the final pass or cross which just let them down. On 53 minutes a foul on Ciaran O'Connor was ignored by the officials and moiments later a frustrated O'Connor himself received a yellow card for a foul. Ben Cushnie had a great chance on 58 minutes but shot wide but just 2 minutes later the Glens were back in the contest. Another ball played into the Larne box eventually broke for Seanan Clucas and he forced it home. Game on! 5 minutes later another Ben Cushnie cross almost resulted in an own goal but as Larne cleared the ball Ciaran O'Connor committed another foul and was shown a second yellow card. 

Glentoran, despite being down to 10 men, stayed in the contest. On 81 minutes during yet another attack, Gael Bigirimana was taken down in the area. Penalty? Not according to Mr Morrison. The frustration on the Glentoran bench and in the stands was understandable. As the clock ticked down the Glens won a couple of free kicks 25 yards from goal. Bobby Burns hit the wall with his effort and then saw his follow up blocked whilst Gael Bigirimana also struck the defensive wall. The ball rebounded kindly for Joe Crowe but his cross to the back post was headed wide by substitute, Rhys Marshall. On 90 minutes Jordan Jenkins just failed to get a shot following a flick on by Clucas and then in the 6th minute of added time a great cross from the right was headed wide by Clucas.

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: Glendinning, Smith, Marron, Crowe, Kane (c) (Burns 64), Bigirimana, Clucas, O'Connor, Cushnie (Jenkins 83), R. Donnelly & Mitchell (Marshall 69)