Mercurial McDaid says the future's bright for Glens
Glentoran 2 Newry City 1
Versatile Robbie McDaid believes there are better days up ahead for Glentoran.
He may not have got on the score sheet in the East Belfast team's nerve-tingling win over Newry City at the Oval, but the 22-year-old was the tormentor in chief and creator of both goals.
The Glens hadn't won under the shadow of the famous Shipyard cranes since October 27 and, with new boss Gary Smyth taking charge for the first time in front of home fans, it was hardly surprising their first half showing was fractured with tension and error.
When James Walker fired the visitors - placed only four points above basement side Ards in the Danske Bank Premiership table - into the lead with a ferocious drive from the edge of the box just before the break, it totally deflated the optimism that had earlier hovered over the old stadium.
But whatever Smyth said durhalf-time had the desired effect.
Although they had Newry on the ropes, the Glens appeared to lack a knockout blow. That was until McDaid took off on a piercing run on the right, leaving Patrick Mooney and Thomas McCann trailing hopelessly in his wake, before delivering a delicious cross to the back post where Darren Murray gobbled up his first goal for the club.
And, it was McDaid's persistence that helped his team claim a welcome and crucial three points. He was again sent darting clear on the right courtesy of a delightful flick from Lukas Gwiazda.
This time he drilled in a low cross that was touched on by substitute Paul O'Neill, but as Darren King attempted to hoof clear he belted the ball against goalkeeper Andy Coleman, with both finishing in the back of the net.
"It was an important three points," admitted McDaid. "When we went 1-0 down it was a bit of a shock to the system because we were by far the better team. I must say, it was a great finish (from Walker). Nine times out of 10 they go over the crossbar."
City boss Darren Mullen admits his boys must start picking up points - quickly"
"I thought it was a good opportunity for us to come here and get something," he said. "We are now in a dogfight at the bottom.
"The bottom line is, we need to start winning games. I know we are a few points above Ards but we need to start winning.
"At some point in time, Ards are going to start winning . . . they will start climbing the table. We can't rely in them being beaten every week. The players now need to stand up and be counted - the table doesn't lie. There is only so much you can put down to back luck."
GLENTORAN: Morris, Birney, Gallagher (Herron, 70 mins), Allen, McDaid, Kerr, Pepper, Crowe, Redman, Murray (O'Neill 80), Gwiazda. Unused subs: Garrett, Kane, Nelson, Gordon, McCarthy.
NEWRY: Coleman, Mooney (Rushe, 89 mins), King, Noonan, Boyle, McCann, Walker, Hughes (Carvill, 66 mins), Teggart, Montgomery, Pender (Moody, 81 mins). Unused subs: Maguire, Delaney, Mullen, Durnin.
Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)
Man of the match: Robbie McDaid
Match rating: 5/10