Belfast Telegraph

McDaid pays tribute to Glentoran’s team spirit

Ballymena Utd 1 Glentoran 2

Winning goal: Robbie McDaid wheels away after scoring Glentoran’s second
Winning goal: Robbie McDaid wheels away after scoring Glentoran’s second

By Billy Weir

Glentoran's two-goal hero Robbie McDaid relished his role in a late smash and grab at Ballymena Showgrounds but would love things to be a little easier in the future.

For the fourth time this season, the Glens found themselves in arrears but the difference this time is that they managed to dig themselves out of the hole they were in when Andy McGrory curled in a wonderful five minutes after the break.

That was tough on the visitors who were superb in the opening period, Croatian midfielder Hrvoje Plum a joy to watch, hitting the woodwork twice and running the show.

But once both benches became involved in an unseemly row that ultimately led to manager Mick McDermott being shown to the stands for using foul and abusive language, the interval seemed to knock them out of their stride.

The Sky Blues wasted several good chances to add to their tally and ultimately paid the price, McDaid bursting through on to substitute Jonny Frazer's flick on to finish with style in the 84th minute.

They were now in the ascendancy and it was another substitute, Elvio Van Overbeek who made the second, McDaid winning the skirmish close to goal and hammering home the winner.

So a first win for McDermott, who knows he will be rapped for his dismissal but also wants chiefs to look at the Ballymena dug-outs role in the incident.

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McDaid paid tribute to the squad ethic that is being instilled in the side.

"We were disappointed coming in because we hit the post twice and things didn't really fall for us in the first half. We controlled but in front of goal we were lacking," he admitted.

"In the second half they came out and scored the free-kick and then we had to chase it and around the hour mark we looked dead and buried but the two boys came on - Jonny and Elvio - and they were super.

"They injected some energy and fresh legs, that's what we have in the squad now, and once I scored that first goal there was only going to be one team go on and win it.

"The only thing from our perspective is that we can't be giving teams a head start and always leaving ourselves ground the make up, but if we can start games like we did on Saturday I think we're in good shape.

"We really let ourselves down last week, at Stangmore we weren't good enough. Today we had to give ourselves a reaction for the staff and the fans. You see how many of them travelled down and they were super.

"That's the monkey off our back now. As a striker as well I've got my first two goals of the season and hopefully that's the start of good things."

The winner was cruel on United, few would have argued with a draw, but David Jeffrey admitted his side had paid the ultimate price for nodding off.

"We switched off on two occasions - I think a draw would have been a fair result and it's frustrating," he said.

"Sometimes football gives you a bit of a knock and that's what happened.

"You have to earn the right to play in every game and this league is going to be so very, very tight. If you don't go out and apply yourself no one is going to lie down and let you pass the ball around.

"Glentoran started very brightly, they were much sharper to the ball, they were winning all the first and second balls but in saying that I thought in the second half we were much better and we did to them what they did to us in the first half.

"If we'd got a second goal the game was over but that didn't happen and then we were punished by going to sleep twice."

BALLYMENA UTD: Ross Glendinning, McGrory, McCullough, Ervin, Addis, Balmer, Winchester, Harpur (McGinty, 87 mins), Friel, Millar, Carville (Mayse, 87 mins). Unused subs: Williamson, T Kane, Burns, Kelly, Lavery.

GLENTORAN: Antolovic, Peers, M Kane, McClean (Birney, 80 mins), Crowe, Pepper, Herron, Plum, Allen (Van Overbeek, 67 mins), O'Neill (Frazer, 67 mins), McDaid. Unused subs: Morris, Gallagher, Byrne, Gordon.

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

Man of the Match: Gavin Peers

Match Rating: 7/10

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