Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Glentoran: 1 Dungannon Swifts: 0: Halliday's goal lights up Oval

Glentoran took their place in the semi-final of the CIS Insurance Cup with a slender 1-0 win over Dungannon Swifts at the Oval.

There was a price to pay for the victory though, with in-form defender Sean Ward being carried off injured after only 11 minutes - five minutes before Michael Halliday scored the only goal of an entertaining game.

Not that many turned out to watch it.

Rangers v Barcelona in a crucial Champion's League clash, live on television and in the comfort of your own home or the Glens against the Swifts on a cold October evening at the Oval?

Judging by the crowd in attendance for what promised to be an interesting encounter, Ronaldinho and his mates and a cup of tea in front of the box proved to be a more enticing proposition than an autumnal night in east Belfast.

No matter that this game was re-scheduled due to Linfield having a game called off in the group stages as they had three players on international duty, you still have to wonder what was going through the minds of the organisors when they chose to play this particular match on a night that clashed with European ties involving Rangers, Man United and Arsenal.

Those who stayed away missed a decent game and a hard-working Glentoran performance that will have pleased Alan McDonald somewhat following their stuttering display against Larne on Saturday.

And they had to do it the hard way too with that injury to Ward forcing his namesake Michael to fill in at right-back while Colin Nixon moved across to the centre of defence.

The Glens goal came with a superb build up begun by Jason Hill, deputising for the injured Kyle Neill at left-back, showing tremendous skill and pace down the flank before crossing to Chris Morgan whose downward header was controlled and then hammered home by Halliday.

Four minutes later David Scullion got on the end of Rory Hamill's cross but headed just wide.

Dungannon came into the game more as the half wore on and Paul Baron should have done better than head straight at Michael Dougherty from six yards after Mark McConkey cross picked him out.

The impressive Niall McGinn looked the most likely to equalise for the Swifts and he warmed the palms of Dougherty twice on 39 and 44 minutes but the Glens stopper did well to save both efforts.

It was clear that without their talisman Gary Hamilton, who could be out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury, they were lacking a cutting edge up front. If Hamilton isn't scoring then he is creating and without that dual threat the east Belfast men were were without their usual spark.

So the Glens were lucky that Dungannon were lacking that extra special something too. The Swifts saw a fair bit of the ball but didn't create a lot and Dougherty was largely untroubled.

On 70 minutes Michael Ward almost lit up the game with a goal that would have killed off the tie when Hamill's neat flick was latched onto by the makeshift full-back but his left-foot shot was well saved.

GLENTORAN: Dougherty, Nixon, Leeman, S Ward, Hamill, Fordyce, Berry, Scullion, Morgan, Halliday. Subs: Morris, Fitzgerald, M Ward, McCann, McMenamin.

DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Nelson, McConkey, Gallagher, McMinn, Curran, Hegarty, McAree, McCluskey, Baron, McGinn, Walton.

Referee: Colin Burns (Newtownabbey)

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