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Glentoran let chance to multiply Euro winnings slip by in TNS defeat

TNS 2 Glentoran 0 (TNS win 3-1 on aggregate)

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Glentoran’s Gael Bigirimana battles for possession with The New Saints ace Ben Clark last night. Credit: Barrington Coombs/PA

Glentoran’s Gael Bigirimana battles for possession with The New Saints ace Ben Clark last night. Credit: Barrington Coombs/PA

PA

Glentoran’s Gael Bigirimana battles for possession with The New Saints ace Ben Clark last night. Credit: Barrington Coombs/PA

Glentoran’s Europa Conference League adventure is over after a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Welsh league side The New Saints, a scoreline which sees the east Belfast side lose 3-1 on aggregate.

With the tie finely balanced at 1-1 after the first leg at The Oval, Mick McDermott’s men were confident they could finish the job at Park Hall Stadium in Oswestry but they were unable to book a date with Latvia’s Kauno Žalgiris in the second qualifying round.

Jamie McDonagh’s late equaliser at The Oval had given the Glens hope and belief but they were made to pay for some hesitant defending.

Two quickfire goals from the impressive Declan McManus and Leo Smith midway through the first half were crushing blows to the men from Mersey Street.

Although they depart the European stage with a prize package of €250,000 (£213,720), the Glens will feel an opportunity to more than double their money slipped by.

Although Polish ace Adrian Cieslewicz aimed a shot wide early on, the visitors carried plenty of threat and Seanan Clucas unfortunate with his header from Rory Donnelly’s cross.

The impressive McManus was a handful for the Glens defence and he poked a shot wide in the 14th minute.

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Conor McMenamin headed against the post from a tight angle but midway through the first half the Glens’ resistance was shattered.

On 25 minutes the hosts were awarded a penalty when keeper Dayle Coleing was penalised for clattering into Jordan Williams.

McManus hammered in his first goal for the club.

A minute later TNS doubled their lead, making it 3-1 on aggregate.

The Glens struggled to retain possession and Leo Smith slammed home his second goal of the tie.

Williams then struck the post as the Glens struggled to regain their composure.

Andy Mitchell replaced Clucas in the hunt for fresh attacking inspiration. Marcus Kane picked out Mitchell at the back post but his powerful header was straight at the keeper.

Jamie McDonagh, who scored in the first leg, and Mal Smith were introduced on 67 minutes with the tie slipping away from the visitors.

Glentoran applied plenty of pressure late on but were unable to land a glove on their opponents. Ben Cushnie came on for his European debut but there was no dream start as his acrobatic overhead effort was high and wide. McDaid had an injury-time chance with a header but couldn’t find the target.

Coleing denied Louis Robles late on but TNS had completed their mission.

The Glens will return home disappointed after viewing this battle as a winnable tie and they will soon focus on improving on their third place finish in the Premiership.

Glentoran: Coleing, Kane, McClean, McCullough, Marron (Smith), Marshall, Bigirimana (Cushnie 81), Clucas (Mitchell 56), McDaid, R. Donnelly (McDonagh 67), McMenamin. Subs not used: Glendinning, Wightman, Stewart, Morris

TNS: Harrison, Marriott, Davies (Ebbe 75), Astles, Routledge, McManus (Rees 87), Cieslewicz, J Williams (Robles 67) Clark, Smith, Davies.

Referee: Ivar Orri Kristjansson (ISL)

Man of match: McManus (TNS)

Match rating: 6/10.


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