Glentoran climbed to 3rd place in the Danske Bank Premiership with a second away victory at Warrenpoint Town in the space of 10 days. It was a tough game on a difficult surface but Glentoran's fitness and quality was key to taking all 3 points.
Former Glentoran player and current Warrenpoint Town skipper, Fra McCaffrey had the first opportunity of the game after 2 minutes but dragged his shot wide of Rory Brown's goal. The Glentoran keeper was in the action a few minutes later when he was the victim of a very late challenge from Adam Carroll. Surprisingly referee Lee Tavinder took no action! A super ball from Rory Donnelly created a chance for Seanan Clucas who'd made a great run into the box but he was narrowly offside. The game then went into a period where it bacame a midfield battle with neither side able to create any real scoring opportunities.
On 25 minutes a driving run from Marcus Kane on the left ended with the skipper finding Jay Donnelly un the penalty area. Jay side stepped a couple of defenders but was unlucky to see his cross-shot blocked. The home side then broke down field but Paddy McClean was on hand to avert the danger and head the ball back to Rory Brown. Once again Adam Carrol followed through with a late tackle but once again he escaped punishment! Two minutes later the Glens broke on the right; Jay Donnelly putting a dangerous cross in which Rory Donnelly flicked goalwards only to see the ball go inches wde of the post. Moments later there was another effort from Rory but this one was deflected behind for a corner.
On the half hour mark the Glens should have broken the deadlock. Jay Donnelly's shot on goal was initially saved by Gabriel Sava but the ball came back to Jay and he rounded the keeper only to see his second effort cleared of the goal line. The Glens were dominant at this stage and there were further chances for Conor McMenamin and Jay Donnelly including a free kick which was fired well over the bar. On the stroke of halftime Warrenpoint Town almost grabbed the lead totally against the run of play. A superb long ball forward caught out the Glentoran defence and Adam Evans fired it from wide on the left, right into the 6-yard box. Central defender, Daniel Wallace had made a tremendous run forward and should have scored but shot just wide of the target. A let off!
Halftime: Warrenpoint Town 0-0 Glentoran
The home side took a surprise lead in the 53rd minute. A long ball forward from Daniel Wallace from deep inside his own half was flicked on towards Adam Carroll. Luke McCullough got there before him though and turned the ball back towards Rory Brown. The Glentoran keeper tried to prevent it going behind for a corner but lost possession and Carroll took possession and slotted it into the far corner of the net despite a valliant effort by Paddy McClean to keep it out. However, just like last Saturday, the Glens struck back quickly. Marcus Kan'e long diagonal ball from the left touchline, midway inside the Town half, found Rory Donnelly on the right corner of the 18-yard box. He slipped the ball on to Rhys Marshall who was crudely hacked down in the area by Wallace. Conor McMenamin stepped up and struck the penalty into the bottom left hand corner of the goal; keeper Gabriel Sava diving the other way.
On the hour mark Conor McMenamin picked up a toe injury and was unable to continue; Jamie McDonagh replacing him from the bench. The Glens went for the win and Rory Donnelly did well to force a corner following a powerful run. A free kick from Jamie McDonagh was met in the area by Jay Donnelly but unfortunately he couldn't keep his header down. Andrew Mitchell was then introduced, replacing the hard working Seanan Clucas. Mitchell's first touch was an attempted overhead kick in the 6-yard box following Rory Donnelly's flick on from Marcus Kane's long throw in.
A week ago a quick free kick caught the Glens defense napping at Mourneview Park and led to a goal. Tonight it was Glentoran's turn to take advantage of a set piece. A foul on Andrew Mitchell gave the Glens a free kick midway inside the Warrenpoint Town half. Jamie McDonagh took the free kick quickly, releasing Marcus Kane. The skipper crossed the ball from the left corner of the 18-yard box and Jay Donnelly rose to send a powerful header past a helpless Gabriel Sava. 2-1 to the Glens! Jay Donnelly was then replaced by Hrvoje Plum for the closing minutes as the Glens managed the remainder of the game. Gael Bigirimana was superb in the defensive midfield role and once again the back four stood firm. Hrvoje Plum might have netted a third in the second minute of stoppage time but unselfishly tried to square the ball to Andrew Mitchell only to see it be cleared behind for a corner.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: Brown, Marron, McCullough, McClean, Kane (c), Bigirimana, Clucas (Mitchell 77), Marshall, McMenamin (McDonagh 60), J. Donnelly (Plum 84) & R. Donnelly.