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'We're the team in the ascendancy': Marcus Kane hails landmark Glentoran win as Crusaders boss insists visitors were 'outstanding' at the Oval


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Jay Donnelly is congratulated for his dramatic late winner over Crusaders.

Jay Donnelly is congratulated for his dramatic late winner over Crusaders.

Jay Donnelly is congratulated for his dramatic late winner over Crusaders.

Jay Donnelly produced a moment of magic to end seven years of Glentoran agony.

The 25-year-old striker grabbed a dramatic injury-time winner to not only pinch three valuable Danske Bank Premiership points, but also help the east Belfast side claim their first League win over Stephen Baxter's Crusaders since April 2014 - a run of 22 games.

It had goalless draw written all over it. Both teams huffed and puffed but lacked a decisive cutting edge in the final third - until Donnelly produced his late party piece.

Crusaders players slumped to their knees. They knew all the hard work they produced for the previous 90 minutes had come to nothing.

The result also meant that the Crues have now won only four of their last 16 Premiership games. They've consumed six defeats in their last seven outings which has resulted in them dropping out of the top six.

It may have come two minutes into injury-time, but Donnelly's goal was worth the wait. Substitute Andrew Mitchell's delicious pass sent the striker hurtling through the middle and, having spotted goalkeeper Sean O'Neill leave his line, he produced the most delicate of lobs.

But the Crues still had time to carve out their best chance of the game when Ross Clarke whipped in a cross from the right and Philip Lowry looked a certain scorer until big defender Luke McCullough got a telling touch.

"Crusaders have been dominant against us in recent years," said Glentoran skipper Marcus Kane. "Now we are the team in the ascendancy.

"It was a fantastic goal to win it. It was well worked by big Mitch and he put a great ball through to Jay. He produced a brilliant finish.

"Jay was a bit disappointed earlier on when he missed a header from his brother's cross. He's in great goalscoring form at the minute - he is one of the top strikers in the League. That's why Mick (McDermott) and Windy (Paul Millar) brought him to the club.

"The win also gets the monkey off our back in terms of our League record against the Crues."

Although his team are on a horrible run, Crusaders boss Baxter insisted they had their pockets picked on this occasion.

"We haven't been playing as well as we'd like over the past three or four weeks," he said. "But I thought we were excellent out there. To a man, the team were outstanding.

"We really got about Glentoran and didn't give them any space, we restricted them to very little over the course of the game.

"We also created a few good chances of our own, so not to come away with all three points is disappointing but not even getting one is even more frustrating.

"They pierced our defence once in injury-time.

"Sean (O'Neill) put his hand up, admitting it was his fault. It was disappointing for him because I thought he did really well. These things happen.

"We are on a little run after losing three or four games on the bounce and you start to question where the next win is coming from.

"We've had a fabulous successful run for such a long period of time and this is the first time in 10 or 12 years that we've lost four on the trot. I've no complaints about the character in the team, but at the end of the day you have to try and win football matches and, at this moment in time, it's not coming as easy as it used to."

GLENTORAN: Brown 6, Kane 7, McCullough 7, Bigirimana 7, McDonagh 6 (Gorman, 65 mins, 5 (Clucas, 68 mins, 6)), R Donnelly 6, McClean 7, Marron 6, Plum 6 (Mitchell, 85 mins, 6), Marshall 6, J Donnelly 8. Unused subs: Morris, Gallagher, Stewart, Crowe.

CRUSADERS: O'Neill 6, Burns 6, Wilson 7, Lowry 6, McGonigle 6 (Owens, 86 mins, 5), Caddell 7 (Lecky, 90 mins, 5), Forsythe 7, O'Rourke 6, Brown 7, Heatley 6, Clarke 6. Unused subs: Tuffey, Hegarty, Weir, Kennedy, Ruddy.

REFEREE: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan) 7. Didn't do a lot wrong in a game that provided relatively few flash points.

Man of the match: Jay Donnelly was always probing for an opening and his delightful finish was a goal fit to grace any occasion.

Move of the match: The Donnelly brothers - Ruaidhri and Jay - combined which resulted in the latter bulleting a header over the top.


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