Glentoran 1 - 1 Sligo Rovers (Sligo win 3-1 on agg)Tue, Mar 20 2012
A flood light failure in the second half could not prevent Sligo Rovers from claiming a place in the Setanta cup semi-finals as they overcame Glentoran on a perfect night for football in East Belfast.
The Bit o' Red arrived at the Oval determined not to sit back on a two goal lead but defence was not an option as the home side seemed content to concede possession to their southern counterparts and hit them on the break.
The tactic was paying dividends as Aidan O’Kane patrolled the area in front of the back four and the three man forward line of Leon Knight, Stephen Carson and Andrew Waterworth interchanged and caused havoc as Rovers struggled to contain them.
Both teams could not inject any fluidity in their play in the opening 15 minutes with only a Daniel Ventre block on Andrew Waterworth’s shot the only goalmouth action of note after eight minutes. Danny North then turned nicely and forced Aaron Hogg in the Glentoran net into a good save while conceding a corner.
Glentoran were beginning to get on top as the half wore on and Waterworth should have done better when Carson and Knight combined to set up the big centre forward but he failed to make contact with his head and the ball flew harmlessly wide.
Danny North then had a couple of chances for Rovers before the Glens captain, Sean Ward, lit up proceedings with a glorious 25 screamer that gave Richard Brush no chance.
Sligo again seemed at a loss as to how to combat Glentoran’s 4-1-2-3 formation and were lucky not to go further behind when Eamonn Murray broke from midfield and shot across goal. The visitors did have half a chance before the break as Quigley did well to set up Lee Lynch but his shot crept wide.
The second half lacked the intensity of the first as both teams were mindful of not conceding a goal and again Glentoran were the ones adopting a more defensive approach.
Sligo continued to labour in their build up and Eamonn Murray began to find space in midfield for the home side that looked the more likely to score as the half neared the midway point.
The flood light failure brought a halt to play for 20 minutes and on resumption Glentoran began to up the pressure as they searched for the equaliser that would bring the tie to extra time.
When Sligo had possession they seemed content to run down the clock and the home support howled their frustration as Brush dallied over his kick-outs.
The introduction of Joseph Ndo saw the visitors enjoy their best spell of the match as the veteran forward gave the home defence a problem receiving the ball in the hole behind the strikers.
The game was put to bed in the 89th minute when Calum Birney brought down Romauld Boco and Danny North converted the resultant penalty to give Rovers a draw. A result that was slightly harsh on the home team.
Glentoran: Aaron Hogg; Calum Birney, Jimmy Callacher, Sean Ward (Captain), Aidan O’Kane; Richard Clarke, Eamonn Murray (Darren Boyce '90), Jason Hill, Stephen Carson (Ciaran Murray 78); Andrew Waterworth, Leon Knight (Martyn Murray '78).
Subs not used: Elliot Morris, Richard Gibson, Jamie McGovern, Matthew Johnston.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Danny Ventre (Captain), Iarfhlaith Davoren; David Cawley (Rafaele Cretaro '65), Lee Lynch, Ross Gaynor, Romauld Boco; Danny North, Mark Quigley (Joseph Ndo '78)
Subs not used: Gary Rogers, John Dillon, Martin Owen, Liam Martin, Jake Dykes.
Referee: Ray Heatherington
Attendance: 800 (Estimate)
Man of the Match: Eamonn Murray (Glentoran), just shaded Danny North.