Belfast Telegraph

Teenagers get their kicks as Glens narrowly beat Larne

Glentoran 2-1 Larne

By David Mason

Goals from teenage tearaways, Kym Nelson and Jordan Stewart eased Glentoran into the quarter finals of the Toals County Antrim Shield.

Nelson opened his account for the season late in the first half before little Stewart grabbed the insurance strike midway through the a dull second half.

Battling Larne pulled one back nine minutes from time through Ciaran Murray, which was just reward for their hard night's graft.

The reality is the game will not live long in the memory of the small band of fans who bothered to turn up.

Curtis Allen brought the sparse crowd to life on 14 minutes when his brilliantly executed lob drifted over stranded goalkeeper John Connolly, but referee Mervyn Smyth disallowed the goal, penalising the striker for a push on defender Stuart McMullan.

Connolly, the former Cliftonville net minder, then had to be quick off his line to deny Nelson, who was sent hurtling through the middle by Niall Henderson.

David Scullion was always dangerous going forward and from one of his runs, he picked out the lurking Stewart, who drilled his shot aimlessly over the crossbar.

Glentoran goalkeeper Elliott Morris, who was making his first appearance for over a month following a back problem, was forced into action for the first time on 23 minutes, getting down smartly to deny the lively Ciaran Murray.

All of a sudden, Larne were a threat going forward. Former Linfield winger Stuart King cleverly rolled a free kick to Paul Maguire, who turned neatly past Calum Birney before firing low at Morris.

The dangerous Murray then cut in from the right before letting fly with a blistering drive, that had Morris scampering across his goal, but the ball flashed inches wide of the post.

Glentoran at last gave their pocket of loyal fans something to smile about on 42 minutes.

Scullion's delicious pass sent Nelson galloping into to box and his thundering drive ballooned the net before Connolly could even move.

It should have been 2-0 seconds later. This time Stewart's trickery created the chance for Allen, but he whacked his shot high and wide.

Stewart was in the thick of the action early in the second half, twisting and turning before testing Connolly with a low drive, that he dealt with confidently.

But the shot stopper had no chance with Glentoran's second on 72 minutes. Willie Garrett whipped in a low free kick and Stewart pounced to steer the ball home at the near post, leaving Connolly totally helpless.

Allen should really have put the Belfast Telegraph Championship 1 side out of their misery minutes later, but his stinging drive was bravely beaten away by Connolly.

Larne grabbed a life line nine minutes from time when Murray slotted home a Maguire cross following a blunder by Morris, but they couldn't find an equaliser.

Glentoran: Morris, Garrett, Kane, Birney, Scullion, Allen, Stewart, Henderson (McCullough 69 mins), Addis, O'Hanlon (McKee 71 mins), Nelson. Subs: McCaffrey, Clarke, Gordon.

Larne: Connolly, Scott, Davison (Robinson 50 mins), McClean (G Gillan 87 mins), Reynolds, McMullan, Irvine (Smith 73 mins), E Gillan, Maguire, Murrray, King. Subs: Thompson, C Gillan.

Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Dundonald).

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