Glentoran 1 Cliftonville 2
It was hardly a classic opening to the Danske Bank Premiership campaign, but Cliftonville were not complaining!
They left East Belfast with what they came for – three points.
Mind you, they did leave it late. In fact, they didn’t get their show on the road until 18 minutes from time.
Following a lacklustre fire 45 minutes, the Glens trooped off at half-time with renewed optimism under the new management team of Ronnie McFall, Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman.
They led courtesy of a fine strike from John McGuigan. Nathan Kerr’s cross wasn’t properly dealt with and, when Marcus Kane threaded the ball to the striker, he showed a cool head the thump a low drive past debutant goalkeeper Richard Brush, the ball flashing home off a post.
To their credit, the Reds did up the ante after the restart. They should have been in terms on 59 minutes when the energetic Chris Curran picked out another new signing, Ryan Curran, but he could only screw his shot wide of the post.
With the clock ticking down, the big away support finally had something to sing about.
Again, Curran was the provider. His piercing run on 72 minutes opening up the Glens defence and, when he picked out Gormley, the big man did what he does best. His low shot squirmed past Elliott Morris.
Seconds later Gormley was almost at it again only this time he hoofed Jay Donnelly’s cross inches past.
But the Reds were not to be denied. With two of the three added minutes already gone, substitute Thomas Maguire capitalised on a moment’s hesitation in the Glens’ back line.
His low cross managed to find Donnelly and, after a quick turn and a shuffle, he walloped a beauty past Morris.
The Reds celebrated uncontrollably, while the frustrated Glentoran players fell to their knees, knowing they had blown it right at the finish.
GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett, Kane, Birney, McMahon, Allen (Kelly 75), McGuigan, Davidson (McCarthy 75), Kerr, Pepper, Redman.
Unused subs: Prentice, Gordon, Ferrin.
CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, McGovern (White 85), Ives, C Curran (Maguire 75), R Curran, Bagnall, Catney, Gormley, J Donnelly, McMenamin, A Donnelly.
Unused subs: Neeson, McConnell, Lavery, Conn, McNulty.
REFEREE: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown).