Paul O'Neill sparks Glentoran's opening goal celebrations (©INPHO/Declan Roughan)
Saturday, 16 March 2019
Ballymena United's title hopes were derailed by a lacklustre performance which saw them slip to defeat to Glentoran at The Showgrounds.
Glentoran needed just three minutes to grab the lead courtesy of Paul O'Neill's lobbed finish over Ross Glendinning into the top left corner after Curtis Allen had swung the ball into the box.
Despite this early goal the first half produced few other chances with Chris Gallagher's effort over on 27 minutes the next real effort of note.
The Glens might well have doubled their advantage just before the break, however, when Robbie McDaid saw a goalbound finish well tipped over by Glendinning.
United did look a better proposition after the break with Conor Quigley seeing an effort saved on 47 minutes after finding himself through on goal but, at the other end, McDaid might have added a second from close range only to blast over.
Play switched again moments later with Johnny McMurray being a whisker away from converting Albert Watson's cross.
However, Glentoran deservedly doubled their lead on the hour after McDaid drifted in behind the home defence to meet a ball from the left before composing himself to finish past Glendinning one-on-one into the bottom right corner.
The Sky Blues were thrown a glimmer of hope on 73 minutes when Glentoran were reduced to ten men after James McCarthy was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Andy McGrory.
But David Jeffrey's side were unable to make their numerical advantage count, creating little to overhaul their two-goal deficit and slipping back to nine points adrift of Linfield at the top.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, Quigley, Whiteside, McCullough, McGrory, Balmer, Ervin, Lecky, Millar, McMurray, Watson subs Williamson (not used), Kane (replaced McCullough 67), Addis (not used), Mayse (replaced Balmer 67), McGinty (replaced Whiteside 76), Burns (not used), Shevlin (not used)
Glentoran: Morris, Kane, Peers, Gallagher, Herron, Allen, McDaid, Kerr, McCarthy, O’Neill, Gwiazda subs McMahon (not used), Henderson (not used), Gordon (replaced O'Neill 77), Gallagher (not used), Smith (not used), McLaughlin (not used), Wallace (not used)
Referee: Shane Andrews
|Albert Watson||90 +2|