Glentoran 0 Coleraine 6
It was a case of the sublime and the ridiculous at the Oval on Saturday.
Sublime — the exquisite finishing prowess of rampant Coleraine, in particular striker Rory Patterson who struck four superb goals in the spectacular 6-0 mauling.
Ridiculous — the absolutely shambolic and embarrassing performance from Glentoran, not least their defence who, aside from Patterson’s first which was truly world-class, gave away goals that would leave a schoolboy team red-faced.
This was the Glens’ worst post-war league defeat at the Oval and, in truth, had the Bannsiders bagged a few more, as they threatened to do, no-one would have begrudged them.
Around 200 Glentoran supporters stayed behind afterwards like a rabid mob to vent their spleen.
Alan McDonald was the obvious target and the manager admitted they had every right to air their frustrations — even if it did take the PSNI to move them on.
“Football is a passionate game, I have been in it long enough. There are highs and lows. This is probably one of, if not the lowest point I have ever been in in my football career.
“People pay good money, they are entitled to a good product. Certainly the players at this club are capable of giving a good product. We didn’t give a good product.
“They are entitled to voice their opinions. If they are levelled in a football way I have no problems. If they are levelled in a personal way, that’s a problem.
When put to Coleraine boss David Platt that the scoreline didn’t flatter his side, he replied, nonchalantly: “No, you’re right, it didn’t.”
Platt didn’t exactly look like a manager who had bagged, you would expect, his greatest victory as manager.
But he has been in the game long enough to realise that when you are in charge of a club like Coleraine, the peaks inevitably leads to the troughs at some point.
“Everyone did their jobs and in midfield (Tommy) McCallion and (Michael) Heggarty were brilliant — they worked their socks off and the back four stood up and were counted.
“But we can't get carried away, we only got three points. You don't get any more points for scoring more goals so we'll enjoy it, then concentrate on Distillery (tomorrow night).”
Man of the moment Patterson echoed those sentiments.
“There’s no point coming to a place like this and winning the way we did and then getting beat in our next game,” he said. “Hopefully we can build on this and keep scoring goals.”
When Darren Boyce opened the scoring it was ‘here we go again’ for Glenmen.
Going a goal behind has been a running theme and even when Patterson struck that amazing 30-yard effort which has surely ended the Goal of the Season contest, there was still a sense that, as they have done in recent weeks, Glentoran could fight back.
What came after the break was nothing short of sesantional as Patterson went on to take his tally to four and Stephen Carson added another.
For all the superlatives you can use to describe the Bannsiders up front, in the other camp it was a disastrous day with few words able to really reflect just how bad the Glens were.
They lacked a goal threat, even when Gary Hamilton and Michael Halliday were brought on, the midfield was run ragged thanks to a commanding display by ex-Oval favourite McCallion and at the back... well, the scoreline says it all.
“I’m just not in a very nice place at the moment. It’s very, very difficult,” added McDonald, who claimed he didn’t know whether he would walk away.
“What I will say is that no Glentoran team should suffer a defeat like that. It shouldn’t happen. It’s hugely embarrassing and it falls squarely on my shoulders, end of story.”
“We have been saying for a number of weeks now that we can’t afford to keep conceding avoidable goals or it will come back to haunt us.
“That was proved right.
“At 2-0 I threw on three offensive players. In hindsight, I wanted to change the game and get something from it and it was the wrong decision. That’s my fault.”