Mcalorum key for Glens

Glentoran's Stephen McAlorum celebrates scoring against Dungannon at the Oval
Glentoran's Stephen McAlorum celebrates scoring against Dungannon at the Oval

Eddie Patterson saluted midfielder Stephen McAlorum after he bagged his fourth goal of the season against Dungannon Swifts at the Oval on Saturday.

The 29-year-old midfielder struck the decisive blow just after Darren Murphy’s boys missed two glorious chances to cancel out Curtis Allen’s first half opener.

Andrew Burns had a shot cleared off the line by Calum Birney before Terry Fitzpatrick shamefully fired over the crossbar when it looked easier to score.

Seconds later, McAlorum, who is hoping to secure a new contract, dived full length to head home Barry Holland’s wonderful delivery to secure three points and keep the Glens on track for European qualification.

“McAlorum has been doing really well for us this season,” beamed Patterson. “His goal settled the nerves a little bit. His contract is up at the end of the season so I intend to sit down him and hopefully we’ll get things sorted.

“He is a crucial part of what we have got going at the minute. He is one of our senior pros and he has been great with the younger lads, particularly ahead of last week’s Irish Cup semi final... he spoke with them to settle them down, but at the same time geeing them up.

“Macker has been putting on consistent performances over the last number of months. Some of the other players didn’t step up to that mark today.

“If you want to be challenging for league championships, that consistency has to be there. At this moment in time, too many switch off at different stages of the game.

“We understand it’s a young, inexperienced team. That’s what brings inconsistency. We have to be more assertive with ourselves. That’s what we are trying to drill into the players – we can’t accept second best.

“It’s a long process, but that will come with the more games they play.”

Even though the Glens were not at full throttle, it says a lot about that team they they still picked up three points.

“Yes, the important thing was getting the three points,” said Patterson. “I think the boys were suffering a little bit of a hangover after the Irish Cup win against Crusaders last week – they looked a big fatigued.

“There is now only three points of a difference from the team in third place to the team in sixth. Next week’s match against Glenavon will be a real massive match.”

Swifts chief Darren Murphy is confident of steering his team clear of the relegation mire over the remaining five games of the campaign.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” he said. “Glentoran scored two goals from inside the six yard box through basic bad defending.

“When you don’t take opportunities at places like this, your are made to pay. We now face a mammoth final five games, but I’m confident these boys can claw away from the bottom.”