Tuesday 15th August
Kick Off 7.45pm
Tomorrow evening we make our second Sports Direct Premiership visit to County Armagh in ten days when we travel to Lakeview Park to face newly promoted Loughgall.
Loughgall marked their return to the top flight with a stunning 3-0 victory away to Newry City; a first half double from defender Caolan Loughran and another from forward Nathaniel Ferris wrapping up the points for Dean Smith’s side by half time, and the Villagers will be hoping to spring enough further surprises to be able to retain their Premiership status come next May. The Newry game marked the end of a 16-year hiatus from top flight football, with the men from Lakeview Park having previously graced the Premiership for three seasons after winning the then First Division Title in 2003/04. While they posted comfortable mid table finishes in their first two seasons, 2006/07 was to prove disastrous, posting only one win all season and finishing a distant bottom of the then 16 team League.
Loughgall finished as comfortable Champions of last season’s IFA Championship and, in being promoted, the village would become the smallest settlement, with a population of 283, to have a top flight team in Europe. Long serving manager Smith has retained the core of his title winning squad and added four new signings: forward Alberto Baldé from relegated Portadown, defenders Oran Brogan and James Carroll from Dergview and Warrenpoint respectively and winger Caolan McAleer from Ballinamallard.
The Glens most recent game at Lakeview Park came in last season’s League Cup Quarter Final, with second half goals from Terry Devlin and Bobby Burns ensuring a 2-0 win and progression to the semis. In Loughgall’s previous stint in the Premiership Glentoran won on all three trips to Lakeview Park and scored three goals on each occasion. The last of these, in November 2006, was a pulsating affair in which the Villagers had led 1-0 well into the second half before goals from Kyle Neill, Gary Hamilton and a beautifully floated effort into the top corner by Michael Halliday, his 100th goal for the Glens, secured a 3-1 win amidst a highly charged atmosphere.
Warren Feeney: “I was very disappointed with the outcome of Friday night’s game against Larne. It was a very even game and I felt a draw would have been a fair result for both teams. Ultimately, we were hurt by a couple of individual defensive errors that led to their goals as they capitalised well on them.
“But officials’ decisions also have a big impact on results and I was very disappointed with what I still think was an inexplicable decision to disallow Aidan’s goal when the scores were level. There was the same issue in the Newcastle game on Saturday when Isak scored in an identical way to Aidan but his goal was allowed! Also Niall had what looked like a fair penalty claim turned down in the first half. That’s two big decisions that made it a very different game.
“I’m looking forward to this game in Loughgall. We’ll need to be at our best as they have got off to a very positive start and now have some momentum behind them. They did very well last season, deserved their promotion and it’s good to see other clubs getting their opportunity in the top division. But we’ll be positive in our approach to the game.”
If tickets remain available for tomorrow evening’s game they may be purchased online HERE from the Loughgall website.