Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan relieved to have six appeal
Glentoran 2 - Portadown 1
Glentoran's 2-1 victory over Portadown guaranteed top-six football in the Dankse Bank Premiership after the split, allowing Alan Kernaghan a rare chance to bask in celebration.
"There's been a lot of negative press for myself and from the fans," said Kernaghan after the comeback win. "But it's nice to have got the result we needed.
"We were nearly as good as we've played so far and with a bit more calmness in front of goal we'd have capitalised a bit more."
After a lengthy delay to proceedings due to a mix-up with the Portadown kit, Pat McGibbon's side made up for it by scoring inside the first minute, Marcio Soares on hand to bundle in a Mike Withers pass.
However, despite a couple of further forays forward, the Ports failed to add to their early advantage, allowing Glentoran to take control, the hosts eventually levelling on the stroke of half-time.
A neat flick on from Fra McCaffrey teed up Curtis Allen around the penalty spot, and he rifled past the impressive David Miskelly in the Ports goal.
McCaffrey and Allen continued to cause problems for the visitors in the second-half, but found Miskelly in fine form. However, when Sean Mackle received two yellow cards for time wasting and petulance at the award of a free-kick in the 83rd minute, Allen made no mistake from all of 25 yards, booming the set-piece into the far left corner.
Often a lonely figure up front this term, Allen's 15th and 16th league goals this season are the result of his hard work in an under-performing side, a realisation not lost on his boss.
Kernaghan said: "They were good goals. We just need to give him more chances. He's shown his pedigree and hopefully we can get even more out of him."
Those goals confirmed a place in the top half of the table for the Glens, setting them on course for a shot at European football.
Kernaghan added: "Top six was the minimum goal and we've achieved that. But we must now try to put a string of results and performances together that will give us momentum going into these play-offs in good form."
GLENTORAN: Morris, Holland, Kane (McCullough, 46 mins), Addis, Rice (Morrow, 69 mins) Caldwell, Scullion, Lavery (Patton, 71 mins), Allen, McCaffrey, Magee. Unused subs: Hogg, Gibson.
PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Ramsey, Casement, Oman, Breen, Parker, Garrett, Mackle, Withers, McAllister, Soares (Ferris, 69 mins). Unused subs: Marrin,Stewart, Judge, Wilson
Man of match: Curtis Allen
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon)