High drama as Glentoran defeat Crusaders on night of red cards and big goals

Deadly Conor McMenamin and Robbie McDaid grabbed the second-half goals to keep Glentoran’s title hopes on track on a night of drama at Seaview.

By Alex Mills
Friday, 21st January 2022, 10:06 pm

The victory took McDermott’s team to joint top of the Danske Bank Premiership table with ‘Big Two’ rivals Linfield.

It’s the second time in four days that Glentoran have won in North Belfast – they took three points from their visit to Cliftonville on Monday.

It was a game at Seaview that had everything - goals, sendings off and bookings sprinkled with glimpses of sheer class.

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Robbie McDaid heads home the decisive goal in victory for Glentoran over Crusaders by 2-1 at Seaview. Pic by PressEyeLtd.

Glentoran were without the Donnelly brothers, Jay and Ruaidhri, whose mother sadly passed away this week.

There was a poignant moment between the ninth and 10th minutes – the shirt numbers of the brothers – when the crowd paid tribute with a two-minute applause.

Crusaders got off to the best possible start with Josh Robinson scoring early on but the Glens came roaring back with those goals from McMenamin and McDaid.

New midfielder Jude Winchester, signed from Ballymena United, was handed a Crusaders debut but it lasted merely 55 minutes because he was shown a straight red card for a foul on Joe Crowe.

Crues boss Stephen Baxter also didn’t last the 90 minutes as he was dismissed by referee Jamie Robinson.

The Crues got off to a flying start with Robinson’s opener.

Ben Kennedy whipped in a great corner-kick from the right and the defender got up above everyone else to thunder home a header, although the ball appeared to take a deflection off Crowe.

Seconds later, Baxter’s team had a big shout for a penalty kick when Kennedy twisted and turned past Paddy McClean - whose second challenge sent the midfielder crashing to the ground - but referee Jamie Robinson waved play on.

It was all Crusaders and they almost increased their lead on 16 minutes as Sean Murray pulled back the lively Kennedy, who got up to curl in the most delicious of free-kicks which was met by Daniel Larmour but whose bullet header was brilliantly saved by Aaron McCarey.

Glentoran had to wait until 28 minutes for their first sniff of action at the other end. Bobby Burns made ground on the left and his low cross was destined for Michael O’Connor, only for Larmour to get in with a telling block.

Kennedy was causing the visiting defence problems and, two minutes before half-time, he picked up pass from Ross Clarke and attempted to curl a shot home from 20 yards, which came off the head of McClean.

Whatever Glens boss McDermott said at half-time it worked a treat, because his players were back on terms three minutes after the interval.

McMenamin gobbled up a long pass from McClean and managed to trick his way past Billy Joe Burns and Robinson before thumping a low left-footed drive past Jonny Tuffey.

Then, it was Glentoran’s turn to shout for a penalty when McMenamin’s drive came off the body of defender Aidan Wilson, but again referee Robinson wasn’t convinced.

The game exploded for all the wrong reasons on 55 minutes when Winchester caught Crowe with a late tackle, but he was stunned when referee Robinson pulled out a red card from his top pocket.

Glentoran’s comeback was complete on 65 minutes, with McMenamin turning provider this time. His persistence on the left took him past Ross Clarke and Burns and, when he whipped in a wonderful cross, it was brilliantly headed home by McDaid.

CRUSADERS: Tuffey, Burns (Owens, 80), Wilson, Lowry (Weir, 69), Kennedy (McMurray, 80), Forsythe, Winchester, Larmour, Headley, Robinson, Clarke (Caddell, 69).

Subs (not used): O’Neill, Lecky, O’Rourke.

GLENTORAN: McCarey, Burns, Marshall, McDaid, Murray, McClean, O’Connor (Mitchell, 79), Crowe, Marron, McMenamin (Garrett, 90), Plum.

Subs (not used): Smith, Cushnie, Wightman, Jenkins, Glendinning.

REFEREE: Jamie Robinson.

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