Jay Donnelly and Dylan Davidson battle for possession (@INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)
Saturday, 04 August 2018
A Jay Donnelly stoppage time winner was enough for Cliftonville to defeat Glentoran in this season opener at The Oval.
After an uncertain opening half-an-hour or so the Glens edged in front through John McGuigan who turned the ball past Cliftonville keeper Richard Brush in off an upright after a Nathan Kerr cross wasn't properly cleared by the visiting defence.
The Reds came close six minutes into the second half through Chris Curran with an attempt at curling the ball home from a Jay Donnelly lay-off only for the effort to drift narrowly wide.
Then, just before the hour, Ryan Curran threatened only to slice his effort the wrong side of an upright.
However, Cliftonville did level on 71 minutes. Joe Gormley opened his account for the season with a strong finish after Chris Curran got behind the Glentoran defence before laying the ball back.
Daniel Kelly might have restored Glentoran's lead on 83 minutes when he was poised to pounce on a McGuigan downward header only for Brush to save well.
But, in the end, it was Barry Gray's visitors that claimed the points when Jay Donnelly smashed the ball home from a few yards out after substitute Thomas Maguire cut a cross back from wide on the right.
Glentoran: Morris, Garrett, Kane, Birney, McMahon, Allen, McGuigan, Davidson, Kerr, Pepper, Redman subs Kelly (replaced Allen 76), Prentice (not used), Nelson (not used), Henderson (not used), Gordon (not used), Ferrin, McCarthy (replaced Davidson 76)
Cliftonville: Brush, McGovern, Ives, C. Curran, R. Curran, Bagnall, Catney, Gormley, J. Donnelly, McMenamin, A. Donnelly subs Neeson (not used), White (replaced McGovern 85), McConnell (not used), Lavery (not used), Maguire (replaced C. Curran 76), Conn (not used), McNulty (not used)
Referee: Tim Marshall
|Conor Pepper||90 +3|
|Jay Donnelly||90 +2|