Glentoran: Darren Murray goal helps put smiles back on fans’ faces at the Oval

Glentoran striker Darren Murray celebrates his goal against Newry City AFC. Pic by Pacemaker.
Glentoran striker Darren Murray celebrates his goal against Newry City AFC. Pic by Pacemaker.

For once the smiles were back on the faces of the long-suffering Glentoran fans at the Oval on Saturday.

It may have only been a narrow, nerve-riddled 2-1 success against a team threatened with relegation - but when you haven’t seen your side pick up three points at the home base in East Belfast since October 27, any sort of win offered an excuse to pop open a bottle of bubbly!

Battling Newry City did the best to pile on the agony, with James Walker belting home a ‘Goal of the Season’ contender with a stunning shot just before the break.

But Robbie McDaid turned on the magic to inspire his Glens team after the restart.

He roared down the right win before delivering the most delicious of crosses for Darren Murray to plunder his first goal in a green, red and black shirt.

And with the clock ticking down McDaid did it again. This time drilling in a low cross that defender Darren King thumped into his own net, off stranded goalkeeper Andy Coleman.

Chris Gallagher’s first-half free-kick crashed off the woodwork. Defender Nathan Kerr also brought a smart response from Coleman before McDaid had a header hoofed off the line by Patrick Mooney.

It was a significant victory in every sense.

A quick glance at the Danske Bank Premiership table will show the Glens are now only two points behind seventh-placed Institute – and 11 clear of Newry.

Little wonder new boss Gary Smyth punched the air with delight at the finish.