Glentoran 2 Portadown 2: With Northern Ireland international Liam Boyce sitting in the stands and just about to open talks with Glentoran boss Scott Young over a potential move to the Oval, Glens front men Andy Waterworth and Darren Boyce picked the perfect time to showcase their abilities.
With Northern Ireland international Liam Boyce sitting in the stands and just about to open talks with Glentoran boss Scott Young over a potential move to the Oval, Glens front men Andy Waterworth and Darren Boyce picked the perfect time to showcase their abilities.
The partnership was far from brilliant and is still in need of a great deal of work before it could be regarded as a genuine threat, but the pair at least made it onto the scoresheet in the 2-2 draw with Portadown; Boyce's injury time volley slicing into the top corner to grab a point they just about deserved.
Waterworth opened the scoring with a fine finish after running onto a great through ball by Stephen Carson, this after missing a 10th minute penalty after he himself had been brought down by Neil McCafferty.
Portadown, who had lost Sean Mackle early on through injury — he would, later in the first half, be followed off by Matty Tipton — equalised through Conor McCloskey and, having upped their game considerably in the second half, looked like winning all three points when Colin Nixon scored an unfortunate own goal.
The Glens had been the better team in the first half, though, and should have been given the opportunity to be in front at the break but for a totally inept decision by the officials to deny Boyce that chance.
As the striker ran onto a goal kick from Elliott Morris which left him one-on-one with David Miskelly, the linesman put up his flag for offside and referee Brian Turkington blew his whistle and called play back — forgetting that a player can't be offside from a goal kick.
Perhaps justice was served though when Boyce, somewhat fortuitously, found the top corner in the 91st minute, offering a reminder to Scott Young, who had made it clear that he is intent on bringing more quality to the club and, on the basis of what the forward line have brought to the table — or not — this season generally, a striker of genuine class has to be high on the agenda.
“First and foremost you have to speak to the players that want to play for Glentoran, that realise that this is not the Glentoran of three or four years ago — the money's not there,” said Young following his talks with Liam Boyce, which at the time hadn't included a discussion about terms.
“The board know my feelings and from now on there has to be top quality players coming into the football club. I want players who are going to be top quality. I have three or four in mind but whether the club have enough money to do it that remains to be seen.”
Should Young fail to land any of those targets then another Boyce had a message for the boss that he can be his main goalscorer, after finding the net for the third successive week.
“I just have to keep working hard, I can't say the season has turned and then I have another c*** game,” he said. “I wasn't playing well at the start of the season and I knew I wasn't playing well, I don't know whether it was in my head or what.
“I know I wasn't good enough but I want to play week-in week-out and I know that if I play week in week out I will score.”
Ports boss Ronnie McFall was disappointed to surrender two points so late on but hasn’t given up on his title dream, saying: “We've still got to play Linfield twice so there is still a lot of football to be played.
“Obviously we would like to be closer than what we are but you just keep playing on because there will be a lot more twists and turns before this is over.”