Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson delight as star Jordan Stewart pens new deal

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson was happy on two fronts despite a far from enthralling 'Battle of the Glens' at a drab Oval.

Patterson was 'absolutely delighted' to put to bed speculation regarding the future of rising star Jordan Stewart.

And even without suspended regulars Stephen McAlorum, Jimmy Callacher and Mark Clark, his depleted troops stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches.

"There has been speculation about various things going on concerning young Stewart," Patterson explained, "but his new two and a half year contract extension is done and dusted.

"Wee things had to be tweaked and turned but that's all sorted out. The paperwork is all signed with his father present and will be lodged with the IFA on Monday.

"That done, I'm absolutely delighted. It's good business."

And maybe it's a good job too because Stewart's long list of admirers is getting even longer.

Cross channel scouts are beginning to hover with several reported to be in the stands on Saturday monitoring the kid's progress and that of Glenavon's teenage defender Rhys Marshall.

Amazingly, Glenavon went into the game not having won a league game in east Belfast for 14 years and concerned by the number of goals conceded this season.

Gary Hamilton's rejuvenated Mourneview outfit have bagged 35 goals in their 16 starts, more than even league leaders Linfield.

But the 29 conceded at the back has been a worry, hence the dramatic change in approach.

So the point gained in this scoreless draw came as something of a relief and a comfort to coach Nigel Law who conceded: "Tactically we set out for a clean sheet.

"In too many games this season we have been forced to score two and three goals to get a result. Our intention was not to concede.

"So it was a great point for us on the back of a long week in terms of minutes spent on the pitch. We're happy that after two tough games against Crusaders and Glentoran we have come out with two creditable draws."

We had glimpses of the skill which has made young Stewart an eye catcher this season, but even Patterson admitted the golden kid had not fired on all cylinders due, he maintained, to a touch of the flu. Any scouts watching did witness a mazy dribble along the by-line which forced a corner and the gifted winger skipped past Andy Kilmartin to engineer space for a shot, only to shoot wide.

The Glens did have the better of the few chances created and visiting keeper John Connolly did well to deal with fine efforts from David Scullion and Marcus Kane.

Connolly however must have heaved a mighty sigh of relief when Scullion rounded him to tee up Stewart only for the shot to come back off his left hand post.

Sadly that was the closest either side came to a goal all afternoon.

GLENTORAN: Morris, O'Neill, Birney, Magee, Hill, Stewart, Clarke (Henderson, 46 mins), Kane, O'Hanlon, Addis (McGuigan, 73 mins), Miskimmin. Unused subs: Bradley, Scullion, Hogg

GLENAVON: Connolly, McCallion, McKeown, Murphy, Marshall, McGrory, Kilmartin, McCabe, Patton, Martyn, Bates (Hamilton, 80 mins). Unused subs: Neill, Lindsay, Rainey, McIlveen

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

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