Murray grabs extra-time winner for Glentoran over Larne
Toals County Antrim Shield, quarter-final
Glentoran 3 Larne 2
(aet, 90 minutes 2-2)
Darren Murray grabbed the priceless extra-time winner to book Glentoran a Toals County Antrim Shield semi-final slot following a night of drama at the Oval.
Just when it seemed it would take a penalty shoot-out to separate the teams, the big striker, who was about to be replaced as he was suffering from cramp, rammed home a beauty to send the home fans into raptures.
Although David McDaid shot gutsy Larne into a first half lead, Mick McDermott’s boys roared from the traps after the break and levelled through Navid Nasseri before Elvio van Overbeek struck home a wonder strike.
The visitor hit back within 60 seconds through substitute Martin Donnelly, which sent the game into extra time. Murray had the final say just before he was replaced.
It was the visitors who asked all the early questions with Lee Lynch shooting wide from 25 yards before Conor McKendry cleverly skipped past Marcus Kane on 17 minutes only to see his low drive crash back off the base of the post with Elliott Morris totally rooted.
Glentoran should have been in front on 25 minutes in their first meaningful raid. Jonny Frazer gobbled up a long punt through the middle from Patrick McClean and, with only Conor Mitchell to beat, his low shot crashed off the body of the big shot stopper.
But McDaid showed just how to do it 10 minutes before the break. Having picked up a shot pass form Lynch, he spotted Morris had strayed slightly off his line and his cheeky chip sailed over the head of the veteran goalkeeper – a genuine goal of the season contender.
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The Glens tried to repair the damage before the break and were almost given a helping hand when lanky defender Harry Flower powered a Marcus Kane cross inches over his own crossbar, much to the relief of Mitchell.
McDermott’s boys upped the tempo after the restart with Mitchell somehow keeping out a header from McClean before Nasseri had a defected shot that looped just over the top.
But the jet-heeled Iranian had better luck on 51 minutes when he combined with Byrne and John Herron to prise open the Larne defence and the midfielder’s low drive fizzed into the bottom corner.
The visitors then wasted a great opportunity on 57 minutes when Morris picked up a back pass inside his six-yard box, forcing referee Shane Andrews to award a free kick only for McDaid and Mark Randall to mess things up when it mattered.
Overbeek then lit up the East Belfast venue with his stunner with 15 minutes left. Following a short-corner routine with Nasseri, the little Dutch midfielder took aim form the edge of the box and his blistering drive flashed past Mitchell.
Larne were level 60 seconds later with another wonderful strike from Donnelly, who twisted and turned before lashing a beauty past Morris.
Glentoran regained the lead six minutes into extra-time – and it was another beauty.
Herron sent Overbeek clear on the right and his cross picked out Murray, whose shot on the turn gave Mitchell not chance.
Man of the match: Marcus Kane
Glentoran: Morris, Garrett, Kane, Frazer, Herron, Murray (Stewart 97), McClean, Pepper, Byrne (Overbeek 64), Nasseri (Plum 100), Crowe.
Unused subs: Gallagher, Gordon, Plum, Duric, Antolovic.
Larne: Mitchell, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Ramsey (Cosgrove 63), Sule, Randall, McDaid, Tinley (Donnelly 63), Lynch (Hughes 63), McKendry.
Unused subs: Devlin, Andrade, Gilmour, Harrison.
Referee: Shane Andrews.
Match rating 7/10.
Belfast Telegraph Digital