A two minute spell just after the hour mark decided today's 'Big Two' Boxing Day game in the Danske Bank Premiership.
With 63 minutes on the clock Linfield full back Niall Quinn hacked down Glentoran's Nathan Kerr as the young defender tried to break forward. Given all that had gone before and in the interests of consistency, it was a yellow card. Not so for the man in the middle, Mr McNabb though. Quinn had already been yellow carded moments before and another would have reduced the home side to 10 men. It's not the first time this season that the Glentoran players and supporters have felt aggrieved at a refereeing decision and it probably won't be the last. It doesn't amatter if they are from Lurgan or Lisburn....or even Latvia. Some of the decisions this season have been poor in the extreme!
Two minutes later and Linfield were 2-nil in front and the game had gone. Then on 67 minutes a corner from the reprieved Quinn was turned in by Joel Cooper to make it 3-nil. Waterworth made it 4 on 75 minutes and at that stage some of the Glentoran support had seen enough.
The first half was as uneventful 45 minutes as we have seen in a Glentoran Linfield game for many years, the Blues leading at the interval through a 16th minute goal from Jimmy Callacher. Only a 25 yard from Willie Garrett 3 minutes after the goal forced Roy Carroll into a save. Glentoran had started with 5 across the midfield with Robbie McDaid playing as the lone striker. The 5 failed to take control of the game though with the 2 wide players being particularly ineffective. Curtis Allen came off the bench for the second half and his first touch almost brought an equaliser; the ball just skimming the top of the crossbar. The Glens then started to show a bit of fight but the second goal killed the game.
There were many aspects of the game today which were disappointing and perhaps some of that can be attributed to the fact that we had 4 players missing through suspension and that we hadn't had a game for almost 2 weeks. However this is the 'Big Two' and players should not need motivated for this game. Unfortunately it appeared that a few were content to go through the motions and hope that someone else would step up to the plate. If you don't have everyone on the team fighting for every ball and putting in 100% effort then you get beat 4-nil...or more.
With no league win since 27th October 2018 the suporters need a lift. That can only come from those tasked with putting the team out on the pitch and the players giving everything they have but also keeping their discipline.
Glentoran: Morris, Kerr, Kane (c), Ferrin, Garrett, Davidson (Allen 46), Gordon (Gallagher 77), Pepper, Herron, McMahon (O'Neill 68) & McDaid.
Photographs by PACEMAKER