There were starts for Aaron Wightman, Mal Smith and Joe Crowe in today's Irish Cup tie at Castledawson. Wightman started on the right side of midfield with Mal Smith playing at right back (Rhys Marshall moving into midfield) and Joe Crowe partnered Paddy McClean in the centre of the defence. It was a cross from Aaron Wightman that caused problems for the home defence in the opening minute! Rory Donnelly met it with his head, forcing Andrew Findlay to make an excellent save. From the resulting corner a header from skipper Marcus Kane came off the crossbar before being cleared.
On three minutes the home side had what turned out to be their best opportunity when Marcus Kane lost possession midway into the Moyola Park half. The home side broke at pace down the right and when the ball eventually came to Ian Parkhill on the edge of the area, he drove it inches past the post. Mal Smith and Aaron Wightman then linked well on the right with Wightman's cross looking to pick out Jay Donnelly before being intercepted and cleared.
Glentoran went in front on 15 minutes. Paddy McClean carried the ball forward before finding Rory Donnelly. Donnelly then took a return pass from Terry Devlin before driving the ball low across the 6-yard box where Devlin was on hand to thump it home.
It was 2-nil just six minutes later. Rory Donnelly found Mal Smith on the right and his dangerous cross was turned behind for a corner. Aaron Wightman took the set piece and his inswinging corner was headed home by Danny Purkis; his 9th goal of the season. The Glens were in control now and frequently looked capable of adding to their lead. Just after the half hour mark Danny Purkis picked the ball up in midfield and sprinted clear of the Moyola Park defence. When he got into the area he looked to find Jay Donnelly but the home keeper did well to intercept the pass or it surely would have been 3-nil.
Ten minutes from the break Purkis was in the action again, playing a great one-two with Rory Donnelly before firing high and wide when a pass to Jay Donnelly might have been a better option. There was one final chance in the first half and it came on 44 minutes. The Donnelly brothers linked up really well before Jay delivered an excellent ball to Danny Purkis who hit the post with his header.
Halftime: Moyola Park 0-2 Glentoran
Two minutes after the restart a quickly taken corner from Aaron Wightman to Mal Smith almost brought about number three. Smith's cross was met on the volley by Terry Devlin but his effort was well blocked by the home defence. The ball was soon back in the Moyola penalty area though; Joe Crowe's pass picking out Purkis who headed just wide of the post. On 56 minutes Rory Donnelly picked the ball up out on the left before cutting inside and unleashing a 30-yard effort which was just over the bar.
Just past the hour mark Rhys Marshall and Terry Devlin linked well but Devlin's shot was deflected wide. From the corner Jay Donnelly headed wide. Terry Devlin was then harshly penalised for a 'hand ball' offence some 30 yards from his own goal. Former Glentoran player, Samuel McIlveen played the ball into the penalty area but it dealt with comfortably by the Glens defence. Rhys Marshall then set up another chance for Rory Donnelly but his powerful shot was well kept out bu Andrew Findlay.
There were a couple of further chances for the Glens to extend their lead through Wightman and Purkis but without success. Glentoran saw out the game comfortably and will now travel to Shamrock Park to face Portadown in the next round.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Smith, Kane (c), Crowe, McClean, Devlin, Marshall, Wightman, J. Donnelly (Clucas 77), R. Donnelly & Purkis