Curtis Allen's last gasp goal for Glentoran leaves Linfield stunned
Linfield 1-1 Glentoran
Goal hero Curtis Allen admitted Glentoran produced all the right answers after manager Eddie Patterson questioned his players' desire and mentality.
Although it took a last gasp equaliser by Allen to nick a draw against managerless Linfield at Windsor Park, the east Belfast side turned in one of their best displays of the season.
In a week that Warren Feeney walked out to take up a new appointment at Newport County, Linfield were also toppled from the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table, with title holders Crusaders taking up the baton.
Even though they failed to reach the same level of performance they achieved under Feeney, the Blues looked to have done enough to secure the points when David Kee fired them into a second half lead.
But with the clock ticking down - and referee Andrew Davey's watch displaying 93 minutes - Allen produced the most delicious of over-head kicks, which thundered into the top corner.
What a difference a week in football makes. Patterson and his troops were jeered off by their frustrated supporters following their home defeat by Ballinamallard seven days earlier. It was those same fans who give the team a standing ovation following Allen's late party piece.
"You never want to question players' mentality, but it needed to needed to be done," said Allen.
"The boss and the coaching staff sat down with the players this week and some home truths spilled out. But we all agreed, we're in it together - we all want to be together.
"We all played for the shirt against the Blues - and that's all you can ask for.
"It was nice to hear the supporters cheering rather than jeering. We must now use this as a starting block - our season starts here."
Allen believes inconsistency has been Glentoran's downfall, but they're determined to put right.
"You can't just switch on and off," he added. "We can't keep performing well against the bigger teams... we've done well against Crusaders, Cliftonville, Portadown and now Linfield. But the so-called 'lesser sides', like Ballinamallard, with all due respect to them, came and turned us over last week.
"That's why we had to sit down this week and talk things out. It sums up our season in many ways. We have been dominating games, but conceding silly goals. When that happens you tend to think 'here we go again'.
"I think our performance showed that we are all in this together. The boss insisted we must all be pulling in the same direction if we want to get things right. I think it all came together at Windsor in terms of our tactics and the work rate of the team - everything was spot on.
"We were unlucky not to come away with all three points."
Like all good strikers, Allen came up with the goods after missing a sitter minutes earlier, when he fired wide with only goalkeeper Ross Glendinning to beat.
"I was thrilled to make amends with the last kick of the game, I think I'll be watching that one on television a few times," he said.
Blues temporary boss Andy Todd - he's looking after team affairs with Alfie Wylie - insisted his team switched off just when it mattered.
"To concede a goal so late on, it feels more like a defeat," he said. "We didn't deal with the corner the way we should have, so we have only ourselves to blame. The warning signs were there. Glentoran put us under a lot of pressure.
"I was disappointed with our quality at times, but I couldn't fault the players for effort or desire."
LINFIELD: Ross Glendinning, Stafford, Haughey, Waterworth, Lowry, Bates, Millar (Sproule, 68 mins), Burns, Clarke, Kee (Mulgrew, 83 mins), Reece Glendinning.
Unused subs: Deane, Hegarty, Quinn.
GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett, Kane, Holland, Magee, Scullion, Allen, McCaffrey (Smith, 64 mins), McAlorum, Addis, Gordon (McMenamin, 76 mins). Unused subs: Gibson, Elliott, Hogg.
Man of the Match: Curtis Allen (pictured)
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)