The Glens are joint top of the Sports Direct Premiership after hitting four goals at the Newry Showgrounds this evening. Injuries to Rhys Marshall, Aidan Wilson and Jay Donnelly meant manager Warren Feeney had to make several changes ahead of this evening's 5.30pm kick-off in South Down. Club captain Marcus Kane returned to his normal left-back slot with Bobby Burns returning in midfield and scorer of last Saturday's winner against Cliftonville, Niall McGinn, returned to the starting XI. Recent signing David Fisher, having made his debut in the midweek Co Antrim Shield success at Seaview, was on the bench for this one as was George Feeney.
The game started brightly and in the opening minutes we had a Shay McCartan shot flash wide, Tom Murphy in the Newry City goal intercept the ball following an excellent run and cross from Daire O'Connor and a claim for a penalty for the home side when former Glentoran midfielder, Ciaran O'Connor, went to ground rather easily in the area. Newry City had another penalty claim when Daniel Hughes went over in the box but referee Shane Andrews awarded a free-kick to Glentoran instead.
Glentoran went in front on eleven minutes. Daire O'Connor showed great determination to get on the end of a Bobby Burns pass and then drift past Noel Healy before managing to get a cross in as he went to ground. The ball was just behind Junior but fell perfectly for Niall McGinn who found the bottom corner with a right footed strike. Just three minutes later the home side might have drawn level when Lorcan Forde out-paced Marcus Kane but was denied an equaliser by a great stop from Aaron McCarey. An injury to Luke McCullough forced the Glens into a change on 26 minutes. Aaron Wightman came on at right-back with James Singleton moving to his more familiar left-back slot and Marcus Kane joining Patrick McClean in the centre of the defence.
Just after the half hour mark a long ball forward was met by Lorcan Forde and he was unlucky to see his effort hit the top of the crossbar and go behind. Newry City were level very soon afterwards though. A through ball from Daniel Hughes set Ciaran O'Connor clear and he slotted past Aaron McCarey to make it 1-all. The Glens responded positively though, and Niall McGinn saw his effort cleared off the line by Noel Healy. On 37 minutes though, the Glens edged in front once more. Shay McCartan found Aaron Wightman on the right and he fed the ball on to Daire O'Connor. His cross was met on the volley by Niall McGinn and, once again, the ball ended up in the bottom corner. It was a sublime finish!
McGinn and O'Connor then linked up again with the former Northern Ireland international picking out Bobby Burns in the area but his header flew over the bar. In first half stoppage time Newry City drew level again. A throw in near the corner flag on Newry's right found Lorcan Forde and he was allowed far too much time and space to work an opportunity for Daniel Hughes which the big striker gleefully accepted. Glentoran might have netted another moments later but Junior's shot went wide after good work from Wightman and McGinn.
Halftime: Newry City 2-2 Glentoran
The second half was a much more subdued affair with the Glens taking control and managing the game well. A poor challenge on substitute David Fisher by Noel Healy earned the Newry City defender a deserved yellow card. Shay McCartan took the resulting free kick and found Marcus Kane in the area but he headed over. Eleven minutes after the interval Glentoran went back in front. James Singleton, who had an excellent game covering both full-back positions, won possession midway inside his own half. He drove to the halfway line before finding Niall McGinn on the left. McGinn carried the ball to the corner of the 18-yard box, drawing the nearest defender and leaving the Glens with a 2 v 1 advantage in the middle. He then picked out Daire O'Connor who fired past Tom Murphy.
Glentoran virtually made the game safe on 62 minutes. O'Connor was again involved and his cross failed to reach Niall McGinn due to Noel Healy's hand ball. Penalty! Shay McCartan stepped up and drilled the ball past Murphy; 4-2 to the Glens. A really bad tackle by Adam Carroll resulted in Aaron Wightman having to be carried off. Referee Andrews showed the Newry City number eight a yellow card when he should possibly have been accompanying Wightman down the tunnel! The final chance of the game came on 86 minutes when Shay McCartan got on the end of a left wing cross but his superbly struck volley was just too high.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Singleton, Kane (c), McCullough (Wightman 26 (Kelly 72)), McClean, Sule, Burns, McCartan (R. Donnelly 89), McGinn, Junior (Fisher 45) & O'Connor (Feeney 89).