Shay McCartan's brace stuns Glentoran
Glentoran surrendered a two-goal lead against Ballymena United at the Warden Street Showgrounds which could ultimately put a huge dent in their title hopes.
They looked to be cruising to three points after Seanan Clucas hit his first goals of the season.
But David Jeffrey’s Sky Blues were not for throwing in the towel and the they hit back through two second half goals f rom Shay McCartan -- the second from the penalty spot just five minutes time.
Glens chief Mick McDermott made only one change to the side that thumped Portadown on Saturday, handing Seanan Clucas a starting shirt.
United boss David Jeffrey was forced to hand 17-year-old rookie goalkeeper Dylan Graham his debut due to Jordan Williamson and Ross Glendinning being out injured. Tony Kane, Paul McElroy, Shay McCartan and Jim Ervin also returned to the starting line-up.
Robbie McDaid missed a glorious chance of giving Glentoran the leader after only 30 seconds!
Marcus Kane’s long throw in was flicked on by Ruaidhri Donnelly, but when the ball landed at the striker’s feet, he totally fluffed his lines and the ball trickled into the hands of Graham.
It was no surprise when the visitors did forge ahead on 14 minutes. Clucas tricked his way past the struggling Kane – he was feeling the effects of an earlier injury – and although his shot lacked venom, it still managed to trickle under the legs of the unfortunate Kane.
United attempted to respond with Ross Redman whipping in a free kick from the left, which was only half cleared by Paddy McClean, but Ryan Waide could only hoof his shot over the top.
McDaid then missed another big chance on 22 minutes. Ruaidhri Donnelly produced a little bit of magic on the left and, when his cut-back fell perfectly for the striker, he shamefully blasted wildly over the crossbar.
But the action quickly switched to the other end with United skipper Jim Ervin rescuing his team with a goal line clearance from Jay Donnelly, following a pin-point cross from Caolan Marron.
The Glens had another chance on 63 minutes when Ervin’s botched clearance fell for McDaid, but his scuffed shot was flicked off the line by Jonny Addis.
Clucas struck again with 16 minutes remaining. The midfielder robbed Josh Kelly wide on the left before curling a brilliant shot past Graham from an awkward angle.
But four minutes later, and against all the odds, United were back in it. He picked up a pass from Waide the crash a low shot past Rory Brown from the edge of the box.
United were almost level on 84 minutes when McCartan’s free kick was somehow flicked off the line by McClean
McCartan had he final sting in the tale when he slotted home a spot kick five minutes from time after Sean Graham was brought down by Chris Gallagher.
BALLYMENA UNITED: Graham, Kane (Graham 17), Redman, Addis, McElroy, McCartan, Waide, Hume, Ervin, Kelly, Wylie.
Unused subs: McKeown, Harpur, Knowles, Beattie, McCready, Farquhar.
GLENTORAN: Brown, Kane (Gallagher 79), McCullough, Bigirimana, R Donnelly, McDaid, McClean, Clucas, Marron, Marshall, J Donnelly (Mitchell 81).
Unused subs: Morris, McDonagh, O’Connor, Crowe, Plum.
REFEREE: Steven Gregg.
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