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World Cup 2018

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Points not plaudits is what Curtis Allen wants for gutsy Glentoran

Ballymena United 1 Glentoran 3

By Billy Weir

Curtis Allen doesn't want Glentoran to be gallant losers, he's determined that they remain gutsy winners.

Plenty of plaudits but no more points were earned with a plucky display at Linfield a week ago and fast forward seven days they probably didn't play as well at Ballymena United but snatched all three points.

Allen, who grabbed his obligatory goal at Warden Street, was delighted the Glens, who have confounded the critics with their excellent start, bounced back to see off the Sky Blues.

"Last week we were sitting in the changing room and everyone said 'oh, you did really well at Linfield' but at the end of the day we got no points," he explained.

"We played well at Linfield but we don't want to be a team that everyone pats on the back when you don't win.

"It was a big test for us because Ballymena would have been a point behind us had they won, so it puts a wee bit of a gap in there and keeps us in the mix.

"I'm not going to say we're going to win the league but if we keep putting points on the board it keeps us in and around it and that's where you want to be."

They were helped by a number of factors other than their own grit and determination, Elliott Morris in fine form between the sticks, the woodwork coming to their rescue twice when the keeper was beaten and the defensive generosity of their hosts.

Young keeper Conor Brennan, who has been excellent thus far, had a bad day, at fault for Marcus Kane's 29th minute opener and John McGuigan's free-kick that sailed in his over his head for the third goal.

In between times Allen had nodded home to make it 2-0 only for Cathair Friel to halve the deficit but the McGuigan goal ended any hopes of a stirring fightback.

"They had a couple of good chances and Elliott Morris made a couple of good saves but we hung in there and I think that's something we have begun to learn to do," added Allen.

It was a befuddled David Jeffrey afterwards, trying to reconcile how his side's enterprising display ended in defeat, but he probably knew it was going to be one of those days when Emmet Friars was ruled out in the pre-match warm-up and Kevin Braniff limped off just when he was getting a hold of the game.

"Injuries are part and parcel of the game and we're certainly not having the best run, but I've never made injuries an excuse or a reason, simply we didn't take chances when we were on top," he said.

"Elliott Morris was excellent, the woodwork was excellent and our goalkeeper made two bad errors, and that's it."

Ballymena: Brennan, Ervin, McCullough (Faulkner, 67 mins), Owens, Flynn, Gault, Thompson, T Kane, Friel, Braniff (McKinney, 27 mins), McCloskey (McCaffrey, 86 mins). Unused subs: Glendinning, Balmer.

Glentoran: Morris, Kerr, Redman, M Kane (McNicholl, 61 mins), Birney, Addis, Knowles (Kelly, 56 mins), McGuigan, Allen, McDaid (Gordon, 76 mins), McMullan. Unused subs: Smith, Delaney.

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey).

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