Glentoran FC

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Linfield 2-0 Glentoran

Tue, 26/12/2023 - 20:37

Our win over Linfield earlier this month was firmly consigned  to the memory after this toothless Boxing Day performance at the National Stadium, a performance and result that leaves of a mammoth 17 points behind the league leaders, who also have a game in hand.

The only change from Saturday was Luke McCullough returning to central defence in place of skipper Marcus Kane, who returned to the bench having sustained an injury after scoring the equaliser at Stangmore Park.

The game was fairly even in the early stages. First, Linfield’s Matthew Fitzpatrick couldn’t reach a great cross from Joel Cooper, then a few minutes later Glens’ David Fisher blasted over from an equally good run and cross from Daire O’Connor. Chris Johns then made a  good save from an O’Connor shot.

The first major talking point came on 27 minutes when Linfield were awarded a penalty. Aaron McCarey needed to impede Fitzpatrick after spilling a Linfield cross. However the Glens keeper immediately redeemed himself, making a brilliant stretching save from Rhys Annett’s subsequent penalty. Shortly afterwards the Glens could have taken the lead but Paddy McClean struck just wide from an O’Connor free.

The game turned on 35 minutes when Linfield took the lead after defender Ben Hall rose to head home a Kirk Millar free kick. From that point there looked to be little prospect of a Glentoran response in the half as despite strong defending  from the back four and robust, energetic midfield play from Sule, Burns and O’Connor, the visitors’ abject lack of presence in the opposition penalty box frustrated the big travelling support.

Half Time : Linfield 1-0 Glentoran

There were no substitutions after the break and the Blues got off to a busy start, hitting the Glens’ post twice in a minute. In response Shay McCartan headed wide from another great O’Connor cross.

The Glens then brought on Junior to replace Fisher, a substitution that worked well against Dungannon on Saturday, but three minutes later it was all over. McCartan failed to control McCarey’s long ball out of defence. A subsequent long ball found Matthew Fitzpatrick who was able to effortlessly stroke the ball home to double Linfield’s lead. That was it! Four further Glentoran substitutions failed to make any impact on Linfield and the game petered out to an easy home win.

Next up is the visit of Cliftonville to the Bet McLean Oval on Saturday. Despite only taking one out of six points in our previous two meetings this season, the part time, third placed Reds will travel east for this one with a thirteen-point advantage over the Glens. There will need to be big improvements up front if we are to have any chance of reducing that gap this weekend.

Final Score : Linfield 2-0 Glentoran

Photographs by PACEMAKER

Glentoran: McCarey, Wightman, Russell, McCullough (c),McClean, Kane (c) Sule, Burns (Murray 86), McGinn (Kane 71), O’Connor (R Donnelly 71), McCartan (Feeney 71) & Fisher (Junior 55)

Subs (Not used): Webber, Kelly