Fixture overload does not worry Glentoran manager Mick McDermott as the east Belfast side maintain their title tilt approaching the Christmas period.
The Glens beat Portadown to make it 10 games unbeaten in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday, and trail table-toppers Cliftonville by four points with a game in hand.
The Shamrock Park club took a shock lead after six minutes through Michael Ruddy’s thunderbolt of a shot from 25 yards.
The visitors held out resolutely until centre-half Adam McCallusm was forced off five minutes before the break.
He, Paul Finnegan, Nathan Kerr and impressive 16-year-old full-back Reece Jordan kept the Glens at bay admirably, but within two minutes of his departure Jay Donnelly levelled the scoring.
The 26-year-old raced behind the Portadown back line to run on to a deft Rhys Marshall ball to lob onrushing keeper Jethren Barr in the visitors goal.
Barr managed to stop the first shot but Donnelly followed up to slot home from a tight angle inside the box, and this set Glentoran up for a crucial victory.
The home side were much improved after the break, despite difficult weather conditions that left sections of the pitch almost unplayable.
Donnelly took his goal tally to 16 for the season when he harried Finnegan as he attempted to usher the ball over the byline after 62 minutes, but the Ardoyne man dispossessed him at the byline to shoot under Barr and into the net from the tightest of angles.
Twenty minutes later, Finnegan made a magnificent last gasp tackle to deny Robbie McDaid close in, but was dispossessed by Conor McMenamin to slot capably past Barr from 12 yards to seal the win.
“You have to keep going”, reflected Glens manager Mick McDermott.
“Eventually you will create something, and I think we did that better in the second half.
“It wasn’t a festival of football for either side but I thought we showed good leadership to come back from the early goal and claim the win.
“The upcoming game load doesn’t bother me. You just have to adjust your training regime to suit, and we have never suffered multiple injuries like hamstrings or groins; that would make you ask yourself what you are doing in training.
“The games will come thick and fast for every team, everyone will suffer injuries, but we hope we are prepared for that.”
GLENTORAN: Glendinning , Burns, McCartan (R Donnelly 86 (Cushnie 88)), Marshall , J Donnelly, McDaid (Smith 86), McClean, Clucas, Crowe, Marron, McMenamin (Wightman 88).
Subs not used: Garrett, Mitchell.
PORTADOWN: Barr, Ruddy, McCallum (S Teggart 40), Finnegan, Bonis, Conaty (McKeown 76), Kerr (Lavery 76), McLeod, Warde, Jordan, E Teggart.
Subs not used: Doherty, Tipton, Salley, Anderson.
Referee: Ian McNabb (Coleraine)
Man of the match: Jay Donnelly
Match rating: 7/10