What a few weeks it has been for Glentoran. Manager Mick McDermott picking up the manager of the month award for December, and why not? McDermott went through the busy month of December unbeaten. After Saturday’s results, the Glens are now joint top of the table with Cliftonville, who have a game in hand on the Glens.
Crusaders and Larne conjured up victories on Friday evening, leaving us with two games on Saturday. The game between Dungannon Swifts and Ballymena United was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and Cliftonville are scheduled to entertain Linfield live on Sky Sports on Monday evening.
Glentoran 2-1 Warrenpoint Town
Everything is looking good for the Glens at the minute. 14 games unbeaten and after this game, they move joint top of the table alongside Cliftonville on 50 points. It has been one hell of a transformation over in the east of the city. Yes, we go on about their budget, but Larne have a similar budget and still can’t beat the teams above them. Well, the Glens have cracked it: this is what you call having an experienced coach at the helm.
Saturday’s game was not pretty, but the Glens got the job done. Point are still at the bottom of the pile and need a break… and a few points. They might think they should have won this one. Alan O’Sullivan gave them the lead, but it was the sending off of Point’s keeper Mark Byrne on 70 minutes that turned this game upside down as Byrne got a straight red for upending Jonny Fraser.
The Glens took full advantage of their man advantage and got the equaliser. Hrvoje Plum teed up Robbie McDaid to fire home. That’s 14 goals so far this season for McDaid. The Glens claimed all three points and the win through another wonderful Plum free-kick.
Larne 4-0 Carrick Rangers
Larne will take this one. Under the lights on Friday evening, they inflicted a heavy defeat in the East Antrim derby to Carrick Rangers. Larne took the lead through a great link-up play between their two frontmen. Davy McDaid released Johnny McMurray who rounded Rangers’ keeper Harry Doherty to finish. McDaid got himself on the score sheet with Larne’s second, after he got his head to a Martin Donnelly free-kick and directed it home.
McDaid got his second of the game and 10thof the season as he coolly rounded Doherty in the Rangers goal to score. Mark Randell got the fourth and final goal of the evening despite not really knowing much about it. The ball came off his back and somehow found its way into the Rangers’ net.
A good win for Larne which sees them staying in 6th position in the league, and in the right place if they are to make the cut in the second half of the season while Glenavon are 10 points behind them in 7th. The top six is where everyone wants to be in before the league splits.
Glenavon 2-2 Institute
Institute is still one place off the bottom spot. Picking up points is what they need to be doing, and although they will see this as two points dropped, they will still take the point. On reflection, after Saturday’s showing, you would think it was Glenavon who were 11th. Stute showed some fighting spirit – not consistent, but they are fighting for survival and that’s all they can do at the minute.
Stute had been in a 2-0 lead: goals from Joe McCready from the penalty spot, and Alex Pomeroy put them in the driving seat. But the Lurgan Blues gained in confidence and got a winner through Daniel Purkas. Purkas was a new signing from East Belfast, and one I have expressed in a previous article as one to watch.
The equaliser for the Lurgan Blues came courtesy of Matthew Snoddy, who signed earlier in the week on loan from the Crues. Not the greatest game for the Lurgan Blues but for Stute they will take the point and move on.
Coleraine 0-1 Crusaders
Check out my article for the game between these two for a little more information on Friday evening’s live Television encounter between these two. The Bannsiders have gone 40 games unbeaten at home before this game. As for the Crues, they just couldn’t buy a win at the Showgrounds. Well that all changed on Friday evening as the Crues ran out as 1-0 winners. The solitary goal came in the first half through Jordon Owens as Jordon Forsythe delivered a pinpoint cross into the box and the big man was on hand to do the rest.