Belfast Telegraph

Murray shows he has fire in belly as Glens stroll on

Glentoran 3-1 Ballyclare Comrades

Happy days: Glentoran’s Malachy Smith celebrates scoring against Ballyclare Comrades at The Oval
Happy days: Glentoran’s Malachy Smith celebrates scoring against Ballyclare Comrades at The Oval

By Alex Mills

Darren Murray is back in the goal routine - and that's good news for Glentoran boss Mick McDermott ahead of Saturday's Big Two derby with Linfield at Windsor Park.

The 28-year-old was last night handed his first start after returning from injury in the Toals County Antrim Shield first round tie with Ballyclare Comrades at The Oval and he played a significant part in the 3-1 victory.

His early strike set the tone as McDermott's boys romped home courtesy of further goals from Mal Smith and Salou Jallow, while Ciaran Dobbin hit a second-half consolation.

Since the club's summer takeover by Iranian businessman Ali Pour, things are certainly looking up for the east Belfast club.

McDermott now has an embarrassment of riches, so he made a staggering TEN changes to the team that claimed an impressive league win over big-spending Larne - midfielder John Herron the only survivor.

"It's important to have a big squad," said McDermott. "It's what is needed if we are to challenge for trophies."

The Glens have now won five games on the bounce and, with that massive meeting with their bitter rivals looming, they'll go into that confrontation in the best possible shape.

They were almost in front on six minutes when Jonny Frazer whipped in a corner from the left that was caught by the swirling breeze, which forced goalkeeper Ben McCauley to punch clear.

But the Glens' fans were on their feet 60 seconds later when Murray hooked in a delightful flick that flashed past the outstretched glove of McCauley.

Murray then turned provider on 21 minutes. His cross was met by young Smith, whose initial header ricocheted off the chest of McCauley and the midfielder followed up to prod home.

The game was over as a contest 60 seconds after the restart. Frazer displayed lightning pace down the left and, when he drilled in a low cross, Jallow, making his debut, rammed a beauty into the top corner.

Frazer should really have added to his team's tally, but saw his lob flipped over the top by McCauley before the hard-working shot-stopper got a strong hand to the little striker's fierce drive.

Glentoran were made to pay for those missed chances as Dobbin, looking suspiciously offside, was allowed to roam unmarked into the box before firing past Elliott Morris on 70 minutes.

Incidentally, Charlie Lindsay last night became the youngest ever player to pull on a Glentoran first-team jersey at only 15 years of age when he replaced Willie Garrett after the break.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett (Lindsay 55), Frazer (Pepper 70), Herron (Duric 46), Murray, Jallow, Stewart, Smkith, Gordon, McCarthy, McGarvey. Unused subs: Kane, Pepper, O'Neill, Antolovic, Overbeek.

BALLYCLARE COMRADES: McCauley, McCune, McIlveen, Crawford, Robinson, J Dobbin (Woods 55), Nolan (Gray 68), McNeill, C Dobbin (Malone 84), McCart, Adamczyk.

Unused subs: Tully, Hegan Henry, Donnelly.

Man of the Match: Gordon (Glentoran)

Match Rating: 5/10

Referee: Steven Gregg

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