Belfast Telegraph

Allen backs Glens' away form ahead of Showgrounds return

Ballyclare Comrades 0-4 Glentoran

Glentoran striker Curtis Allen
Glentoran striker Curtis Allen

By Ian Callender

Curtis Allen knows it will be a hard act to follow but the Glentoran striker can't wait to return to the Coleraine Showgrounds for the Tennent's Irish Cup quarter-final at the start of next month.

Four goals from four chances against Championship promotion hopefuls Ballyclare Comrades is as good it gets and while a much stiffer test awaits against his former club in the next round, Allen believes the Glens can go all the way this year.

"We fancy ourselves on the day against anyone and Glentoran have a good record in the Irish Cup," said Allen. "We will take the away draw because we haven't been doing so well at The Oval and the cup offers a road to Europe.

"But, first, we have a big match against Ballinamallard on Tuesday, which is massive in trying to make the top six."

Allen was substituted midway through the second half at Dixon Park, ahead of tomorrow's game but it also saved Comrades from further punishment.

In three previous cup encounters between the teams this millennium, the Glens' biggest win had been 3-0 but if Allen had stayed on, further goals seemed inevitable. Not only did he score twice in the first eight minutes and two more either side of half-time, but he laid on three more golden opportunities for John McGuigan, twice, and new signing Peter McMahon but none was taken.

"We had to come here and do a professional performance to get us into the next round," added Allen. "You want to get an early goal to set the tone and two gave us a foothold in the game. The chances came and I put them away and to get a first half hat-trick, it was brilliant."

His manager joined the praise for his ace marksman but admitted it wasn't entirely plain sailing in the first half.

"Curtis is quality. When he is at his best he is hard to stop," said Gary Haveron. "But they had a good chance at 2-0 which if it had gone in, it could have been a different game but all in all it was very comfortable and the boys' attitude was excellent"

It is now 17 years since Ballyclare last knocked a Premiership side (Cliftonville) out of the cup and manager Clifford Adams said the early goals knocked the stuffing out of his side.

"Once you lose the first two goals inside 10 minutes it's an uphill battle," he said. "It was always going to be an uphill battle but the most frustrating thing was we didn't give as good an account of ourselves as we normally would. We are creating so much but not taking them and giving away silly goals."

BALLYCLARE: Blayney, Woods, Rodgers, McCart, Parker, Dobbin, Dugan, Kane, Brown, Robinson (McWilliams, 61 mins), Kelly.

Glentoran: Morris, Kerr, Birney, Garrett, Redman, McMahon (Knowles, 61 mins), Kane (Gordon, 72 mins), O'Hanlon, Davidson, Allen (McDaid, 67 mins), McGuigan.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

Man of the match: Curtis Allen

Match rating: 6/10

Belfast Telegraph

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