Hrvoje Plum underlines fast-track run to become a Glentoran fan favourite
Glentoran 4 Institute 0
New signing Hrvoje Plum is rapidly becoming a firm favourite with Glentoran fans.
The Croatian midfielder last night bagged a goal of the season contender help set the Oval alight in front of Sky Sport television cameras.
Institute defender Caoimhin Bonner headed into his own net before Plum rammed in a wonder free kick from 30 yards.
Robbie McDaid then touched home another set piece from Plum to end the game as a contest early in the second half with Antonia Duric finishing the job with a debut goal late on.
The victory torpedoed Glentoran up to fifth in the League table, only five points adrift of leaders Crusaders.
Although they Glens won convincingly last time out -- thumping Ballyclare Comrades 5-1 in the League Cup -- manager Mick McDermott, who had to sit out the second of a two-game ban, still made a staggering EIGHT changes to his starting line-up – Conor Pepper, Elvio van Overbeek and Paul O’Neill were the only survivors.
It meant that hat-trick hero last time out, Jonny Frazer, had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench.
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Institute remain rooted in 11th place. Under the managerial guidance of Paul McLaughlin and Sean Friars – they stepped in when John Quigg quit only seven days before the start of the League campaign -- they have now lost four and drawn one of their opening five games . . . it appears they already have a relegation fight on their hands.
But it was the visitors who threatened first on four minutes with defender Ryan Morrow trying his luck with a 30-yard dipper, that flashed over the crossbar.
Glentoran responded with skipper Marcus Kane making a surging run on the left before picking out Overbeek, whose header was superbly pawed to safety by goalkeeper Paul Wells.
It was no surprise when the Glens forged ahead on 10 minutes through that Bonner howler. Overbeek and Plum ripped through the right side of the Institute with a devastating burst and when the Dutch Under-21 international whipped in a teasing cross, the big defender totally miscued his clearance that flashed past Wells.
The hard-working John Herron then should have done better after a cute flick from Robbie McDaid, but the midfielder failed to get any purchase on his effort.
Plum punished the visitors once more on 18 minutes with that brilliant free kick. Morrow hauled down McDaid with a reckless challenge and the Croatian midfielder took aim from fully 30 yard and his striker left Well helpless.
Institute did manage to bounce back off the ropes with Stephen Curry showing great pace on the right before crossing low for Gary Brown to ram his effort wide of the post.
Normal service resumed at the other end and Patrick McClean should really have put the game to bed on 27 minutes when Peers crossed for Paul O’Neill, but the big defender couldn’t get his feet sorted out to convert the striker’s knock down.
Plum again tried his luck from distance after McDaid appeared to be impeded by Bonner inside the penalty box, but his raking drive was brilliantly clawed out of the bottom corner by Wells.
Glentoran piled on the agony after the break with O’Neill’s header drifting wide before McDaid’s low drive crashed against the outstretched legs of Wells.
But the shot-stopper was left helpless on 57 minutes when Plum’s free kick wide on the left drifted across his goal before sneaking in at the back post, with McDaid claiming the vital touch.
With the clock ticking down Duric, who had just replaced Overbeek, got up high to head home a Mal Smith corner three minutes from time to complete a good night’s work.
Man of the match: Hrvoje Plum
GLENTORAN: Antolovic, Pepper, Peers, McClean, Kane, Crowe, Plum (Frazer 61), Herron, Van Overbeek (Duric 77), McDaid, O’Neill (Smith 69).
Unused subs: Stewart, Morris, Birney, McCarthy Gordon.
INSTITUTE: Well, Morrow, Bonner, D Curry, S Curry, Tourish, G Brown, McBride (McNamee 71), McCready, McLaughlin (Burke 46), Foy (Tweed 6).
Unused subs: Dunne, McCauley, Crown, R Brown,
REFEREE: Jamie Robinson.
Match rating 7/10/
Belfast Telegraph Digital