Glentoran 2-0 Ballymena United

By Paul Alexander

Glentoran concluded 2019 with a win against Ballymena United at The Oval, where there was late drama, on Saturday afternoon.

There was a shortage of significant changes throughout the opening half of the Danske Bank Premiership fixture. In the 14th minute midfielder Declan Carville, who was a stand-in goalkeeper for the afternoon, kicked the ball out as far as Chris Gallagher. The midfielder supplied Darren Murray whose effort was wide of the left post. 

The Sky Blues had an opportunity at the other end of the pitch soon after. Home captain Marcus Kane tried to stop Andrew Burns from getting the ball before it was received by Leroy Millar. The midfielder attempted to beat Marijan Antolovic at his near post but the shot was palmed around the upright by the Glentoran keeper.

Mick McDermott’s Glens found a few openings midway through the second half. Cameron Stewart headed the ball over the crossbar after Robbie McDaid’s cross from the right. McDaid then fired wide of the Ballymena goal at the end of another attacking move which followed.

A left-footed effort from Elvio van Overbeek, who had replaced injured substitute Cameron Stewart, looped over the bar with 81 minutes played. Adam Lecky almost helped United to pull ahead of their hosts. The striker was the recipient of a diagonal ball before his shot on the turn was directed wide for a corner.

The home side went in front through McDaid inside the last ten minutes of normal time. The forward was in on goal after Carville’s drop kick was deflected into his path. McDaid the advanced and produced a low finish at the near post.

Both sides were reduced to ten men prior to the second goal. Ballymena’s Adam Lecky was shown the red card before Glentoran’s Paul O’Neill was also dismissed. Navid Nasseri completed the scoring during the closing seconds of stoppage time. With Carville up for a late corner-kick, Nasseri showed his pace before finishing into an open goal.

Glentoran: Antolovic, M. Kane, McClean, Birney, Pepper, Gallagher, Crowe, Herron (Stewart, 59) (van Overbeek 75), McDaid, Murray (Nasseri, 59), O’Neill

Subs not used: Morris, Garrett, Frazer, Plum

Ballymena United: Carville, McCullough, Andrew Burns, Ervin, Reece Glendinning, Kelly, Millar, McGrory, Lavery, Lecky, Friel

Subs not used: T. Kane, Addis, Whiteside, Mayse, McGinty, Knowles, K. Kane

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

In-Touch Man of the Match: Robbie McDaid (Glentoran)