Glentoran 3-1 Portadown
Persistence was the key to Glentoran’s win over Portadown yesterday, said Oval boss Mick McDermott.
The Glens came into this game off the back of nine unbeaten games in the Danske Bank Premiership and the victory keeps the east Belfast side in third place, four points behind Cliftonville with a game in hand.
They did not, however, have it all their own way in adverse weather conditions yesterday, as the visitors took the lead through a thundering goal from Michael Ruddy after just six minutes.
Glentoran had to wait until three minutes before the break for Jay Donnelly to equalise and, in the second-half, the they eased to victory with Donnelly doubling his tally and Conor McMenamin finishing the job.
Portadown were a well drilled unit, particularly at the back where Paul Finnegan and Adam McCallum held a high line to frustrate their hosts.
Matthew Tipton’s outfit should have doubled their lead on 12 minutes when industrious skipper Lee Bonis somehow nodded wide when picked out by a Sam Warde corner.
McCallum was forced off five minutes before the break with a foot injury and his absence was evident as Portadown’s back line began to creak.
A Rhys Marshall ball over the top allowed Donnelly to finally break Portadown’s offside trap and slot past keeper Jethren Barr at the second time of asking.
Donnelly scored again when he harried Finnegan as he tried to usher the ball over the byline, picked his pocket and tucked cleverly under Barr and into the net from the tightest of angles.
Portadown substitute Adam Salley and Oisin Conaty went close but visiting hopes were extinguished when McManamin dispossessed Finnegan deep inside the Portadown box to fire past Barr on 82 minutes.
“I thought we showed a bit more urgency in the last 15 minutes of the first half,” said McDermott. “Just before our first goal, we said on the bench that we needed to be more direct.
“Once we got the second goal, they had to come out and I thought we could have scored more — as they could have as well.
“The conditions were difficult but I felt if we stuck to our guns we would come out on top and thankfully that’s what happened.”
Tipton, meanwhile, reflected: “Every week, our defenders are going down injured, and losing Adam affected us. That said, I think we gifted them two goals.”
GLENTORAN: Glendinning 6, Burns 6, McCartan 6 (R Donnelly, 86 mins, 6), Marshall 6, J Donnelly 8 (Cushnie, 88 mins, 6), McDaid 6 (Smith, 86 mins, 6), McClean 7, Clucas 7, Crowe 7, Marron 6, McMenamin 7 (Wightman, 88 mins, 6). Unused subs: Garrett, Mitchell.
Portadown: Barr 6, Ruddy 7, McCallum 6 (S Teggart, 40 mins, 6), Finnegan 6, Bonis 7, Conaty 6 (McKeown, 76 mins, 6), Kerr 6 (Lavery, 76 mins, 6), McLeod 7, Warde 6, Jordan 7, E Teggart 6 (Salley, 46 mins, 6). Unused subs: Doherty, Tipton, 6, Anderson.
Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey) 7