Portadown 0 Glentoran 1
How Portadown must be sick of the sight of Matty Burrows, scorer of injury-time goals and plunderer of vital points from the Shamrock Park side.
The Glens striker did his late smash-and-grab raid again on Saturday, hitting home the winner in 92 minutes and condemning the Ports to the last-but-one spot in the league table.
This winner wasn’t as jaw-dropping as the spectacular back-heeler at the Oval on October 5 which is in the frame to win him the FIFA Goal of the Year accolade, but it was just as important for Glentoran’s league hopes as they keep in touch with Linfield at the top.
That’s exactly how Burrows — on as substitute in the 72nd minute — felt about it.
“I don’t care if they’re world-beaters or tap-ins,” he said at the end of an enthralling contest. “The three points were massive in both games which ended 1-0 after my late goals.
“I realise that Portadown must have felt sick to the teeth — they were the better side this time and deserved at least a draw. But they didn’t turn their excellent approach play into goals.”
That summed it up perfectly, especially with virtual one-way traffic for most of the second half. But when Portadown’s brilliant midfielder Richard Clarke was stretchered off on 85 minutes — with all three subs used — Glentoran went for broke and Burrows’ close-in headed goal was the result.
Ports manager Ronnie McFall was furious.
“We played them off the park after the interval, but missed a hatful,” he fumed.
“Three or four goals wouldn’t have flattered us, but we need a striker. And we should have had a penalty in the second-half when Ross Redman had the feet taken from under him.”
Glentoran manager Scott Young agreed that Portadown should at least have had a draw.
“When Clarke went off, we turned to |4-4-2 and really went at them,” he said.
“Sometimes you get more than you deserve in this game, and you take it gratefully.
“I can imagine Portadown feel frustrated about it all.”
Either side could have bagged a couple in the first half, with the Glens’ Neal Gawley frustrated by a great David Miskelly stop in the first minute and a Grant Gardiner effort striking an upright, while Kevin Braniff fluffed a couple at the other end.
Portadown attacked in waves after the break and Alan Teggart, Braniff, Keith O’Hara and Tim Mouncey all missed the target when they really should have scored.
Then came that late Glentoran burst when Miskelly stopped a Johnny Black thunderbolt, a ‘goal’ was ruled out for an infringement, and Burrows finally nodded home a Black cross, beating Miskelly to the ball.