Glentoran finished the season with three straight wins after leaving Shamrock Park with all three points this afternoon. Unsurprisingly Eddie Patterson named an unchanged starting XI after the impressive performance at Windsor Park on Easter Tuesday. While the game was something of a dead rubber for both sides in terms of League positions it was a special afternoon for Jason Hill as the popular full back made his 327th and final appearance for Glentoran before retirement.
Portadown should have taken the lead after seven minutes when a great cross from Chris Casement found Peter McMahon unmarked, but his close range header sailed over the bar when a goal looked to be a formality. But two minutes later it was the Glens who took the lead; Fra McCaffrey found Danny McKee on the left, the young striker’s cross in turn found David Scullion whose clever back heel inside the six yard box allowed McCaffrey to follow up for an easy finish. Ten minutes later McMahon had another great chance to score when put clear by Darren Murray, but Elliott Morris was quickly off his line to smother his shot and McMahon was to regret his miss just a minute later. Glens midfielder Kym Nelson found himself in space twenty five yards out and, with little else on, tried his luck with a low left foot drive which flew into the bottom corner past a static David Miskelly to double the Glens’ lead and give him his first goal for the club.
With twenty seven minutes gone McMahon had his head in his hands once again. The Portadown number 7 ran clear of the Glentoran back line and rounded Elliott Morris but, with the goal gaping, could only roll the ball into the side netting. At the other end Jordan Stewart, on for the injured Fra McCaffrey, had a shot deflected off David Scullion which brought a good save from Miskelly. Six minutes from the break McMahon finally found his shooting boots; after capitalising on a mistake by Jonny Addis he ran clear and this time slotted the ball low past Morris to reduce the deficit.
After the break the game died a little with Portadown enjoying a little more possession as they attacked down the infamous slope but rarely troubling Elliott Morris. Indeed it was the Glens who wasted the first clear cut chance of the half as substitute Mark Miskimmin capitalised on a lucky break in midfield to bear down on goal with two team mates in support and only one covering defender. The number nine elected to take on the shot himself and blazed wildly over the bar, although shortly afterwards he brought a decent save from Miskelly after being played in by Scullion. There was some good news for the visiting supporters when David Howland made a welcome return as a substitute with twenty minutes left, his first appearance for many months after a serious knee injury. In stoppage time the Glens should really have made the score line more emphatic. With the home side pushing forward in search of an equaliser David Scullion and Niall Henderson both broke clear of the defenders with only Miskelly between them and goal. Scullion could have taken on the shot himself but unselfishly rolled the ball to Henderson who found the back of the net but the full back had strayed into an offside position.
However the final whistle sounded soon afterwards to signal an encouraging end to the season for Eddie Patterson’s young side. It also provided a fitting send off for a great servant to Glentoran in Jason Hill, the veteran defender receiving an ovation from the travelling supporters at the end of the game.
Elliott Morris, Niall Henderson, Jonathan Addis, Steven Gordon, Jason Hill, David Scullion, Stephen McAlorum, Kym Nelson (sub David Howland 71 mins), John McGuigan, Fra McCaffrey (sub Jordan Stewart 24 mins), Danny McKee (sub Mark Miskimmin 63 mins)