Belfast Telegraph

Glens must stay grounded after roaring start: Leeman

Glentoran 4 Newry City 1

Leading man: Curtis Allen rushes to salute scorer Robbie McDaid
Leading man: Curtis Allen rushes to salute scorer Robbie McDaid

By Alex Mills

Skipper Marcus Kane last night led by example to fire Glentoran into the top three in the Danske Bank Premiership.

The hard-working midfielder grabbed a nerve-settling third goal for the east Belfast side, just when they looked to be on the ropes against a spirited Newry City at The Oval.

It looked so good for Ronnie McFall's boys when Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid fired home first-half strikes.

But Newry threatened to make a match of it when former Glentoran midfielder Conal Delaney netted early after the restart.

The home fans couldn't afford to rest easy until Kane's exquisite header ballooned the net.

But the best was still to come. Dylan Davidson was only on the pitch two minutes when he fired in a stunning 40-yard drive, sending the home faithful crazy.

Glens coach Paul Leeman said: "The game will be remembered for Dylan Davidson's fantastic strike, it was a moment of genuine class.

"Last year Glentoran dropped too many points at home but this year we've made a positive start, we are hoping to continue with these results.

"This is a learning year for myself in coaching but nobody can get carried away with any results, and we must make sure we keep working hard."

It was Newry's first visit to the aging Belfast stadium since 2010. The club has enjoyed a fairytale rise in five years, from junior football to the top flight.

Darren Mullen's men were dealt a blow before the game when Dara Noonan failed a fitness test, while his defensive partner John Boyle was attending a wedding.

Prior to the game, former goalkeeper Alan Paterson, who played 513 games for the Glens, made a presentation to long-serving shot-stopper Elliott Morris to mark his 700th game for the east Belfast team, which came last weekend.

But he was almost embarrassed after only eight minutes when Stephen Hughes tried his luck with an audacious 25-yard drive that appeared to loop off Morris' leg. He managed to get back to paw clear before the ball crossed the line. Marc McCabe pounced on the rebound but failed to turn it into the net.

It was an early wake-up call for the home team. Although they enjoyed the majority of possession, they found life difficult against a resolute Newry defence.

McDaid managed to conjure up an opening and, after cutting in from the right, let fly with a 20-yard drive that arrowed over.

But Allen fired in the opener on 29 minutes. The alert striker was sent hurtling into the box by a cheeky back-heel from John McGuigan. Although the striker still had a lot of work to do, he managed to squeeze the ball in off the base of the post, leaving Andy Coleman helpless.

The cheers had hardly died down when the Glens struck again. Kane's delicious pass sent Allen clear on the left. When he whipped the ball into the middle, McDaid's initial effort crashed off the post, but the striker followed up to ram home.

Stunned Newry attempted to come back off the ropes and would certainly have reduced the deficit seconds before the break only for Stephen Gordon to get back to flick the ball off the head of Stephen Hughes, who was primed to finished off a great cross from Dale Montgomery.

After all their domination, the Glens were caught cold just four minutes after the interval.

Mark Hughes' corner kick was flicked on by Declan Carvill and Delaney popped up at the back post to scoop home.

But the Glens regained their two-goal advantage on 60 minutes. Kane rose high to meet an in-swinging corner from Ross Redman and the ball flashed past a startled Coleman.

But the coup de grace was yet to come. Davidson was on the pitch less than two minutes when he smashed home a stunning 40-yard drive which sent the home supporters delirious.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett (Davidson 80), Kane, Birney, Herron, Allen, McGuigan (McMahon 86), McDaid (Byrne 44), Pepper, Gordon, Redman.

Unused subs: Nelson, Crowe, Ferrin, McCarthy.

NEWRY CITY: Coleman, Mooney (Rushe 84), King, McCann (Walker 69), Carvill, McCabe, S Hughes, M Hughes, McCaul, Delaney (McArdle 69), Montgomery.

Unused subs: Maguire, Johnston, Teggart, Mullen.

Referee: Jamie Robinson.

Match rating: 6/10

Belfast Telegraph


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