Glentoran 4 Donegal Celtic 0: It may have taken them to come up against the defensive deficiencies of Donegal Celtic, but Glentoran finally found their shooting boots and their confidence last night to notch up a fine 4-0 win at the Oval.
The Hoops may have been poor at the back, but it was also a decent display from the Glens — and there have been precious few of those of late.
Andy Waterworth opened the scoring after just eight minutes and three minutes later Daryl Fordyce doubled the tally.
Matty Burrows made it 3-0 after the break and Fordyce hit his second in the 90th minute, on a night when the east-Belfast men leapfrogged Cliftonville into third place in the Carling Premiership.
Celtic looked dangerous in the early stages and Paul McVeigh forced a good save from Elliott Morris after five minutes with a shot from the edge of the box.
The corner caused a bit of anxiety in the Glens box — not least with them missing the influential Colin Nixon, who was involved in a car accident on Monday — but three minutes later any early nerves disappeared when Richard Clarke released Burrows down the right to set up the opener.
The striker, back in the starting line-up and looking very hungry, sent in a cross which was completely missed by the DC defence and Waterworth stroked home from eight yards.
The Glens had a little bit of a spark, certainly in comparison to the performance which bored fans senseless in the 0-0 draw with Cliftonville at the weekend.
Burrows had a snapshot saved after 11 minutes, but the advantage was doubled soon after when Clarke took the ball down in the box and fired at goal. Declan Brown parried, but Fordyce followed up from 10 yards.
Arguably the biggest improvement in the Glentoran side was the showing from Waterworth.
The striker often comes in for criticism, but he was superb last night and was unlucky not to score a second on 20 minutes when after racing through, he rounded Brown and shot from a tight angle, only to be denied by the woodwork.
On 35 minutes Celtic should have clawed one back when Paul McVeigh's cross from the left found Eamonn McAllister free in the box and although Morris did well to save, the Hoops forward should have done a lot better.
By that stage the Glens had taken the foot off the pedal a little, but after the break the tempo was lifted again and five minutes into the second-half it was three and a deserved goal for Burrows.
The striker, who has barely had a shot on goal over the past month or so, picked up a good through ball from Grant Gardiner and rounded Brown before scoring.
Donegal Celtic didn't give up and were unlucky not to pull one back when Ryan Henderson fired at goal in the 59th minute, but Clarke blocked on the line.
Burrows missed a sitter from eight yards on 64 minutes before Fordyce got his second in injury time when he slotted home a Sean Ward pass, which Peter Steele had initially missed, following a great run from Ward to complete a morale boosting win ahead of their season-defining Irish Cup quarter-final with Coleraine on Saturday.
GLENTORAN: Morris, McGovern, Leeman, Ward, Black, Steele, Gardiner, Fordyce, Clarke (Callacher 79), Waterworth, Burrows (Doran 70). Subs: Gawley, Johnny Taylor, Birney.
DONEGAL CELTIC: Brown, Muir, O'Hara, Watson, Gargan, Henderson, McAlorum, McNamee, Bradley, McVeigh, McAllister. Subs: Brennan, Fay, Atkinson, Glenholmes, Dickson.
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon).