Glenavon 0 Glentoran 1: Glentoran go marching on but even a four point cushion at the top of the Premiership doesn’t entirely please manager Scott Young.
“We didn’t play well,” said the hard-to-please boss despite grinding out a precious three points from a gruelling clash with second placed Glenavon.
Ciaran Martyn grabbed the crucial winner with a close range header from Johnny Black’s 65th minute corner to clinch the win.
Even so, Young conceded: “I expected better and, if I’m honest, a draw would have been a fair result.
“They made it hard for us and played some good football at times. We also had a little bit of luck.”
But Young insisted: “No way am I going to complain about taking all three points.
“I wasn’t happy with our performance but it’s a good sign when you’re not playing well yet grind out a result.
“We defended resolutely and threw bodies on the line and had a little bit of luck which you need. Four points is nice but it’s only the first week in September.”
Rival boss Marty Quinn was gutted. He said: “I agree a draw would have been a fair result.
“Getting nothing from the game hurts even though, had I been offered a point before the start, I would have said ‘no thank you, I want three’.
“This is a real hammer blow because I was confident we could get a result.
“It was a close call. Were they better than us? No. Were they fitter? No. Were they technically better? Not really.
“A draw would have been a fair result of a good end-to-end game from two committed teams.”
Perhaps, but it’s goals that count and, in a game where chances were as rare as hen’s teeth, the winner was always going to be the team that made the most of whatever scraps came their way.
And the Glens cashed in on a moment when the home defence lost concentration and failed to deal with a straight forward right wing corner.
Home skipper Conor Walsh was detailed to mark Martyn but lost him at the crucial moment and the big midfielder thumped home a header from no more than six yards.
Little wonder Quinn, who questioned whether it should have been awarded in the first place, was adamant the goal should have been prevented.
Glentoran definitely started the brighter but were unable to make it count against the Lurgan Blues, who had not beaten their east Belfast opponents in 10 long years.
Black went close first with a curling free-kick and again when goalkeeper Andrew Plummer left his line but failed to collect another of the right-back’s clever set pieces.
And Daryl Fordyce was unlucky when he latched on to a long pass from Colin Nixon only to be denied by the keeper.
Trevor Molloy raised home hopes with a clever run which saw him ghost past Martyn and Richard Clarke before launching a terrific low drive which whistled inches wide.
Neal Gawley might have done better when Plummer stood stuck to his line instead of dealing with Jamie McGovern’s deep cross.
The winger stabbed at the ball at the back post but it somehow bounced over the bar.
However the breakthrough was not long delayed with Martyn claiming his second goal of the season with that header from Black’s right wing corner.
Glenavon did respond positively but Walsh and then Adrian Harper were denied by timely defensive blocks.