GLENTORAN 4 B’MALLARD 0
Glentoran boosted their European qualification hopes by seeing off Ballinamallard United at The Oval.
Goals from Curtis Allen (2), Steven Gordon and Fra McCaffrey eased the Glens to a comfortable 4-0 win.
The victory sees Eddie Patterson’s side close to within four points of third-placed Portadown - and three behind Cliftonville in fourth - as the race for Europe gathers pace, while the Mallards continue to hover just above the relegation zone.
It took only four minutes for Glentoran to break the deadlock with Allen heading home from close range for his 17th the season.
Fra McCaffrey lofted a deep cross from the left, and when Gordon headed back across goal there was Allen to nod the ball past Fergal Murphy and into the corner of the net.
It was 2-0 in the 31st minute when Gordon benefitted from some industrious work from Marcus Kane.
Kane showed tireless energy to prevent the ball from crossing the byline, and the defender then crossed for Gordon to finish off at the back post.
Allen was denied his second goal of the night when his angled drive was well saved by Murphy.
The Mallards struggled to find any momentum during as frustrating opening 45 minutes.
John Currie had the visitors’ best effort with a low drive that Elliott Morris gathered at the second attempt.
McCaffrey almost added to Glentoran’s lead in the 49th minute.
The winger had a shot bravely blocked by Stuart Hutchinson, with a follow-up strike being cleared off the line by Mark Stafford.
It was 3-0 on 58 minutes with Allen bagging his second of the night.
Jordan Stewart was the provider, threading through a ball for Allen to run onto before lobbing the onrushing Murphy from the edge of the box.
McCaffrey added a fourth in the 70th minute with a low shot from inside the box after some good work by Allen.
Gordon almost bagged his second in the 75th minute but Murphy did well to block the midfielder’s shot.
At the other end Elliott Morris got down to stop Liam Martin’s low shot.
GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett (Addis 77), Kane, McCaffrey, Birney, Allen, Stewart, McAlorum (McCullough 46), Nelson, Gordon (McKee 77), Gray.
Subs not used: Scullion, Hogg.
BALLINAMALLARD: Murphy, McMenamin, Stafford, Martin (Connor 82), Hutchinson, McCartney, Currie, McKenna, Beacom (Lafferty 61), Courtney (Campbell 46), McLaughlin.
Subs not used: Murphy, Crilly.
Referee: Steven Taylor (Belfast)