For the second time in four days Glentoran headed down the M1 and just like Tuesday evening, returned East with the 3 points. A win which sees us got top of the early Danske Bank Premiership table. Tonight's win though was much more straightforward than the game at Stangmore Park.
There was just one change to the XI who started against Dungannon Swifts, Sean Murray coming into the midfield in place of Bobby Burns. Glentoran made a bright start, attacking the end where our fans were situated. Skipper Marcus Kane had an early attempt on goal but it didn't trouble Jethren Barr in the home goal. Throughout the game, Oisin Conaty posed the main threat for the home side and he had Portadown's first opportunity with 5 minutes played but he failed to test Aaron McCarey.
Rory Donnelly found Shay McCartan on the edge of the area on 8 minutes but the Glentoran number 7 dragged his shot wide. Then a long pass from Sean Murray sent Jay Donnelly racing clear. Jay drove into the box but his effort failed to trouble Barr. Following a sustained bit of pressure, Glentoran broke the deadlock on 18 minutes. Conor McMenamin fired a dangerous corner into the area and Howard Beverland did well to clear it behind. The resulting set piece again caused problems for the Portadown defence and they were forced to concede a throw in near the corner flag. Aidan Wilson's long throw found Marcus Kane on the edge of the 6-yard box and he fed Conor McMenamin. McMenamin set up a great chance for Jay Donnelly but for once, the Glentoran marksman didn't make a great connection. Jay's mishit shot though fell just right for James Singleton and he tucked the ball into the corner of the net for his first competitive Glentoran goal.
Just 5 minutes later the Glens doubled their advantage. A powerful header out of defence by the excellent Aidan Wilson found Conor McMenamin on the right. Despite an attempt to impede him, McMenamin cut inside past Mark Russell before firing at goal. His 20-yard shot took a slight deflection off Leo Donnellan and flew past Jethren Barr. Glentoran were dominant now and Portadown struggled to keep them at bay. On 26 minutes Jay Donnelly lobbed the ball over the Ports keeper but was unlucky to see it hit the top of the crossbar and go behind. Rory Donnelly then went close with a curling effort from the edge of the area which was inches too high.
On 32 minutes Shay McCartan was taken down around 20 yards from goal. He took the free kick himself but his shot deflected to safety off the defensive wall. 6 minutes from the break Portadown had a rare chance from a set piece following a foul by James Singleton. Billy Steadman took responsibility for the free kick but his shot was way over the bar. Straight down the other end we went and Rory Donnelly though he'd grabbed a third for the Glens but it was ruled out for an apparent hand ball.
Halftime: Portadown 0-2 Glentoran
The Glens continued to dominate after the break, stroking the ball around and playing some delightful football. On 54 minutes a cross from Marcus Kane on the left was met on the volley by Rory Donnelly but his powerful effort struck a defender before being hacked clear. A curling shot from Conor McMenamin on the edge of the box almost brought number 3 and McMenamin was involved again minutes later when he was found by Aaron McCarey and drove to the by-line only to see his cross deflect behind off a defender.
With 20 minutes remaining a great run and cross by Rory Donnelly resulted in an opportunity for Shay McCartan but once again the Portadown defence got bodies in the way to deny him. A couple of minutes later McCartan linked up well with substitutes Alistair Roy and Danny Purkis, the latter seeing his shot hit the side netting. Then Oisin Conaty forced Aaron McCarey into a fine save on a rare Portadown attack.
Glentoran finally got the third goal their all-round superiority deserved with 16 minutes remaining. Shay McCartan fed Alistair Roy and he cut in from the left across the edge of the area before playing a perfect ball into the path of Hrvoje Plum. The Croatian midfielder connected with it perfectly, driving a low shot across the keeper and into the far corner - a superb finish! Just 2 minutes later Roy and Plum linked up again but this time Jethren Barr denied him. With 10 minutes remaining a mazy run from Alistair Roy almost brought goal number 4 but again Barr was well positioned and kept Roy's shot out.
A very late tackle by Oisin Conaty on Aidan Wilson resulted in the Ports striker receiving a yellow card. Conaty went close in the dying stages with a header which just cleared the Glentoran crossbar. Glentoran's final chance of the game came when Rhys Marshall found Danny Purkis on the right. Purkis put a low cross into the area but although Alistair Roy got on the end of it, his flick was just wide of the post.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c), Wilson, McClean, Murray (Plum 66), Singleton (Crowe 75), McCartan (Wightman 75), R. Donnelly, J. Donnelly (Purkis 66) & McMenamin (Roy 66)