A superb last minute Elliott Morris save earned Glentoran a share of the spoils in the first leg of their Setanta Sports Cup tie against St Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park on Monday night.
The save from Morris, diving low to save Jordan Keegan’s powerful drive, keeps his side well in the tie. Both sides had chances in the game but Glentoran will certainly be the happier of the two. St Pat’s created plenty of chances but were unable to convert past Morris.
Glentoran had the better of the opening exchanges but failed to test Brendan Clarke, Jim O’Hanlon particularly menacing on the right hand side. St Pat’s grew into the game and Chris Forrester had their first strike at goal after a quick throw from Ger O’Brien, but the Glens keeper saved easy.
St. Pat’s continued to create and Jason Hill was forced to head over his goal from Killian Brennan’s dangerous free kick. The resulting corner from Conan Byrne found the head of centre back Conor Kenna but his powerful header only found the side netting.
The Saints had a big shout for a penalty after half an hour as Ger O’Brien progressed down the right and cut inside the penalty area. An outstretched leg from defender Calum Birney felled O’Brien but referee Declan Tomney pointed for a corner kick, much to the annoyance of O’Brien.
Killian Brennan had a good chance five minutes before half time but he drilled his shot wide of the target. Glentoran had an even better chance on the stroke of half time as John McGuigan took possession from Saints defender Kenny Browne before advancing and squaring to Richard Gibson. Brendan Clarke got to the ball first but couldn’t hold possession, but re-gathered as Gibson steadied to shoot.
St Pat’s went close at the start of the second period through Forrester. Conan Byrne found Ger O’Brien who in turn found Anto Flood in the penalty area. His back flick fell into the path of Forrester who made space for the shot but his curling effort from 18 yards went just wide of the far upright.
Flood was next to threaten but after good control and set-up play from Conor Murphy, Flood’s shot was well wide. Minutes later Forrester was again threatening, this time his 30-yard strike flew just over the Glentoran crossbar.
Good movement from St Pat’s then saw Forrester and Brennan link up well down the right for the latter to cross to the back post. The ball found substitute Sean Gannon but his shot was saved by Morris.
St Pat’s soaked up the sporadic pressure from Glentoran and almost got a goal with six minutes left. Jordan Keegan’s sublime ball over the top found Flood, but his low effort couldn’t beat Morris.
Jordan Keegan had a great chance to win the match in stoppage time. Anto Flood worked to create space for the cross and found Jordan Keegan but Glens keeper Morris pulled off a superb save to earn a draw for the visitors and keep the tie scoreless going into the second leg.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Killian Brennan, Shane McFaul (Jake Carroll 80), Chris Forrester; Conan Byrne (Sean Gannon 68), Anto Flood, Conor Murphy (Jordan Keegan 78). Subs not used: Dave Ryan, Aidan Price.
Bookings: Anto Flood (85).
Glentoran: Elliott Morris; Kevin Bradley, Colum Birney, Jay McGee, Jason Hill; Jim O’Hanlon (Martin Murray 89), Mark Clarke (Sean Ward 38), Stephen McAlorum, Marcus Kane; John McGuigan, Richard Gibson (Andrew Waterworth 61). Subs not used: Colin Nixon, Jimmy Callacher, Aaron Hogg, Carl McComb.
Bookings: Calum Birney (15), Jay Magee (67), Marcus Kane (77), Jason Hill (82).