The maxim that you don’t win anything with youngsters turned out to be true in this encounter as Glentoran manager Scott Young admitted that his youthful side could have lost by twice the margin against Portadown.
The single-goal victory was due to the hosts missing a hatful before Matthew Tipton’s two late goals — the winner came in the 90th minute — wiped out Ciaran Martyn’s first-half score.
“I gave a lot of young players their chance,” said dejected, under-pressure Young. “The established players hadn’t been delivering and, while the youngsters didn’t let me down, I have to say that Portadown were the better side.
“They passed the ball better and could have won by a wider margin had they taken their chances, especially in the first-half.”
One established Glens player unimpressed by the Young philosophy was Gary Hamilton who, having been concussed by a fall at home at the weekend, found himself kicking his heels while he watched the game.
“I was passed by A&E after a scan on Tuesday and told I was fit to play,” he said as he sat with his young son in the changing-room corridor after the match.
“But the club doctor said otherwise and I have to say I’m very frustrated.”
No such frustration in the Ports’ dressing-room, though, as Tipton recalled those two late, late goals — the first set up by a great move by Kevin Braniff and Keith O’ Hara and bundled home from a couple of yards.
The second was an even more scrambled affair.
After Glens keeper Elliott Morris had parried a thundering header from Brian Gartland, Tipton swept up the empties, again from a mere yard or two out.
“That’s what I’m there for,” said the Welshman.
“You won’t get 30-yard blasters from me. My game is to hang around the danger area and let others do most of the work!”
Said manager Ronnie McFall afterwards: “It would have been a travesty had we not won that match.
“It leaves us second in the table, with leaders Linfield coming here next week.
“What a match that will be — and we’ll be really up for it.”