Glentoran on the rise off convincing home victory to down Dungannon Swifts
Deadly Jay Donnelly grabbed his 14th goal of the season to help Glentoran jump up to second spot in the Danske Bank Premiership table at the BetMcLean Oval.
Questions may have been asked of Mick McDermott’s men following a sequence of disappointing results earlier in the league campaign - but they certainly have come up with the answers.
Donnelly shot them into a first-half lead from the penalty spot before defender Paddy McClean and substitute Robbie McDaid sealed the deal against Dungannon Swifts in a 3-0 win.
Not having won at the East Belfast venue since January 2019, it was always going to be a big ask for Dean Shiels’ team.
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In contrast, Glentoran have lost only one of their last 10 games in all competitions – that was away at Coleraine earlier this month.
Following the early bout of sparring, it was Glentoran who asked the first questions when Conor McMenamin cleverly lofted in a great cross from the left which was met by the head of Jay Donnelly, whose effort flashed inches wide.
Dungannon responded when former Glentoran midfielder James Knowles sent Rhyss Campbell clear on the left and, after cutting inside, he sent a sizzling 25-yard just over the crossbar.
Glentoran goalkeeper Aaron McCarey then spared the blushes of his defender McClean, who was caught in possession by Ben Gallagher but the shot lacked conviction.
The action quickly moved to the other end with McMenamin picking up a pass from Rhys Marshall before sending in a vicious drive that Michael Quinn managed to paw over the top.
Ruaidhri Donnelly’s cross from the left caused Quinn all sorts of problems in the gusting wind and his brother Jay just failed to bundle home the rebound.
Plucky Swifts threatened again with Oisin Smyth trying his luck from distance which was spilled by McCarey, but Keith Cowan – another former Glentoran man – failed to picked up the pieces.
Glentoran edged ahead two minutes before the break in controversial circumstances. Referee Christopher Morrison awarded a penalty kick when Bobby Burns went down after a challenge from Ethan McGee and Donnelly confidently stepped up to send Quinn the wrong way from the spot.
Glentoran upped the ante after the restart and grabbed a second goal on 54 minutes. McClean drove out of defence with a surging run and from fully 30 yards he drilled in a low shot, well out of the reach of Quinn.
They almost did it again seconds later when McClean turned provider to Jay Donnelly, who tried to round the goalkeeper only for Quinn to get a glove to the ball to smuggle it away from the striker.
McDaid put the icing on the cake in the last minute, drilling low under the legs of Quinn.
GLENTORAN: McCarey, Burns, Marshall, J.Donnelly (Cushnie, 80), R.Donnelly (McDaid, 53), McClean, Clucas, Crowe (McCartan, 68), Marron, McMenamin (Bigirimana, 80), Plum.
Subs (not used): Garrett, Glendinning, Smith.
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Quinn, Coyle (Conway, 78), Glynn (Convie, 73), Cowan (Glenny, 73), Knowles (Odhran Smyth, 80), Oisin Smyth, Campbell, Gallagher (Mayse, 73), McGinty, McBrien, McGee.
Subs (not used): Groogan, McCready.
REFEREE: Christopher Morrison.
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