Glentoran rough it into semis
Knockbrerda 1 Glentoran 3
Saturday, March 2. Remember the date – the day that Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson hailed the performance of a referee!
Raymond Hetherington and his officials earned the plaudits as the Glens progressed in a controversial Irish Cup quarter final tie against little Knockbreda.
The Championship Two side had two players dismissed in a madcap five-minute second half spell. Defender Stephen Curley picked up a second yellow card for speaking out of turn, while midfielder Stephen Hislop was sent packing after a headbutt on Glens' striker Andy Waterworth.
"The referee didn't see the incident, but you've got to give credit to the official who was furthest away," said Patterson. "We saw it from the dug out and reported it to the fourth official.
"Credit to the senior official on our side of the pitch – he brought it to the attention of the referee. It's something you rarely see in Irish League football these days.
"Officials take a fair share of criticism but, on this occasion, they did their jobs fantastically well. Some of the things that were going on out there were totally unacceptable. Credit to our boys, they kept their discipline."
Glentoran issued the ultimate punishment after the double dismissal, with Waterworth grabbing a killer third goal.
Defender Jay Magee shot them into an early lead with a 13th minute penalty, but Breda defender Michael McClean levelled five minutes later.
Unlucky defender Jim McMenamin then deflected a Stephen Carson cross into his own net to gift the Glens a second goal.
"We are in the semi finals – that's all we wanted," added Patterson.
"We knew it would be difficult because we played up here in pre-season.
"The performance wasn't great, but, at this stage of the tournament, the result is the only thing that matters."
Glentoran will now face Portadown in the semi final on April 6 and Patterson added: "It doesn't really matter. It's going to be a battle whether it is Portadown, Cliftonville or any of the two other teams.
"It now depends on what Glentoran team turns up on the day of the semi final – that's all I am concerned about."
Patterson's immediate concern is tonight's Setanta Sports Cup quarter final clash against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds, where the Glens visit without a number for first team regulars.
"We have a number of boys in the 'doubtful' catergory," added Patterson. "Jay Magee will not make it. He hurt his knee just before half time against Knockbreda and then sustained a bad knock to his ankle near the finish.
"His ankle was badly swollen. Jim O'Hanlon, Stephen McAlorum and Richard Clarke also sustained injuries – most of them picked up with guys stamping on them on Saturday.
"We'll have to weigh things up to see what players are available for the Sligo game."
Patterson had already decided to reshuffle before the weekend injury pile-up.
He added: "We always intended to make changes, just as we did in the previous round against St Patrick's Athletic.
"It's a big, big ask for part time players to play two games in the space of three days.
"We also face a particularly long journey to Sligo.
"But it's a great tournament to be involved in and we'll be going there to get a result."