There was an excellent turn out and a festive atmosphere at the Blanchflower Stadium on Wednesday evening for Marcus Kane’s testimonial game against Scottish Premiership side, St. Mirren. Players and officials from both sides provided a guard of honour for the Glentoran skipper as he entered the field of play with his daughter Mollie at his side and son Bowie in his arms.
Early in the game a superb cross-field pass from Aaron Wightman found Rhys Walsh on the left flank. His cross into the area though was well defended by Declan Gallagher. On 13 minutes ‘Man-of-the-Match’ Aaron Wightman collected the ball from Luke McCullough and drove into the opposition half before playing a neat one-two with Rory Donnelly. Wightman went for goal from the edge of the area but his effort was well kept out by Zach Hemming in the visitors’ goal. A long ball forward from James Singleton was well gathered by Jay Donnelly but the Glentoran number 9 was crudely taken down by Gallagher. Donnelly carried on for a couple of minutes but had then to be replaced by Junior.
Just after the half hour mark Wightman won the ball on the right, midway inside his own half. As he advanced, he linked up with Junior before crossing towards the back post. The ball was headed back across goal by Rhys Walsh with Junior just failing to get the touch which would have surely broken the deadlock. Junior was again in the thick of the action a couple of minutes later, finding Niall McGinn in the area but his attempt on goal was blocked. As we approached the interval there were headed opportunities at both ends. Mark O’Hara put his chance wide of the post whilst Rory Donnelly forced Hemming into a save. The visitors had a couple more chances on 39 and 40 minutes. A shot from Olutoysi Olusanya was partially blocked by Marcus Kane, allowing Aaron McCarey to make a comfortable save. Ethan Sutherland’s powerful shot from a tight angle then forced McCarey into another save, the Glentoran custodian doing really well to hold on to the ball.
Only Marcus Kane and Junior were still on the field for the Glens as the second half got underway. St. Mirren might have gone ahead on 57 minutes but for a superb block by Aidan Wilson. On the hour mark, Marcus Kane was replaced by Jake White. The skipper left the field to a standing ovation.
On 62 minutes St. Mirren substitute Keanu Baccus went closest to opening the scoring but his low drive was inches wide of the post. 3 minutes later Ollie Webber gathered the ball and his quick distribution found Daire O’Connor on the right. He got to the edge of the area but his cross towards Fabio Afele was cut out. Ten minutes from time a foul on Bobby Burns gave the Glens a free kick opportunity. Burns swung the ball into the area but Peter Urminsky (sub keeper) did well to hold onto the ball under pressure from Danny Purkis. With 6 minutes remaining Ollie Webber produced an outstanding save to deny Scott Tanser. There was one final chance for Bobby Burns on 88 minutes but the Glentoran midfielder couldn’t keep his shot down.
Glentoran Football Club and Marcus Kane’s Testimonial Committee would like to warmly thank St Mirren for playing Wednesday night’s game, and also to the Glentoran Family who turned out to pay the skipper such a warm and richly deserved tribute.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran 1st half: McCarey, Wightman, Singleton, McCullough, Kane (c), Marshall, Walsh, McGinn, Locke, R. Donnelly & J. Donnelly (Junior 21)
Glentoran 2nd half: Webber, Boyd (McLaughlin 81), Russell, Wilson (Brennon 70), Kane (White 60), Burns, Kelly, Purkis, O’Connor (Wallace 70), Afele & Junior (Jenkins 75)