IRISH LEAGUE: Boss provides a goal for Glens defenders

Jay Magee hit a second half equaliser for Glentoran on Saturday afternoon. Photo by TONY HENDRON/
Jay Magee hit a second half equaliser for Glentoran on Saturday afternoon. Photo by TONY HENDRON/

Glentoran boss Gary Haveron has challenged his defence to weigh in with more goals.

Jay Magee netted his first of the season on Saturday to earn a 1-1 draw at Glenavon. It was only the Glens’ 19th goal in all competitions this season and the first that was scored by a defender.

Jonathan Smith has netted the most with five while fellow forwards Curtis Allen and Nacho Novo have netted five between them. Midfielder Stevie Gordon has four while Ciaran Caldwell has three. Kim Nelson has also found the target but the boss wants a wider spread of players getting their names on the score-sheet.

“We created lots of chances,” said Haveron, after watching Magee head in to end the Glens’ run of 286 minutes without a goal. “It’s not just Curtis (Allen)’s responsibility to get the goals so I was pleased to see a centre-half weight in with a goal. I expect the likes of Jay, Callum Birney, James Ferrin, Jonny Addis all to chip in with goals.

“We showed both sides of our games (at Mourneview). We looked a threat going forward but we were really strong and resolute in defence. Late on in the game when they lumped balls into the box, we dealt with them better.

“We came down with a game plan. Curtis held the ball very well, Jonathan Smith was a threat throughout the game and it was encouraging to see so many men getting forward because in the last couple of games we haven’t created enough chances.”

Eric Foley curled in the free-kick that led to the goal as the former Drogheda man impressed at Mourneview.

“I thought he was excellent,” said Haveron. “He’s slightly isolated from the squad because he only comes in on a Thursday night and for the matches but he’s so professional. He’s a super technician and he’s so good on the ball. He has a great range of passing. I thought his free-kick shot near the end was in. He was very good in the middle of the park.

“I thought in the first 25 minutes, we were the better team. We hit the crossbar, he had one cleared off the line and we looked a real threat, which is good because the last couple of games we didn’t.

“It was important that we had a bit more of a go. We set up more attack minded.

“The goal (we conceded) was so avoidable. It’s a catalogue of poor defending to concede against the run of play but at half-time we regrouped.

“We had to be strong because the fired a lot of ball forward. They’re very direct and we had to deal with that but it’s very pleasing when you see players throwing their bodies on the line to make blocks.

“Our fans have gone away seeing our team have shown good heart and commitment to them. That’s all you can ask.”
Haveron’s Glens host Ards on Saturday knowing they could potentially leapfrog both their opponents and Dungannon with a win.

He said: “Ards will be disappointed but they’ve had a very good start to the season. They haven’t picked up the results of late but all the games they’ve been involved in have been very tight. We’re expecting nothing other than a real battling performance from them. If we can prepare properly and get everybody fit, we’ll be a hard team to beat.”