Villagers stage astonishing comeback to deny Glens

Jul 24, 2023 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

Monday 24th July 2023 Supercup NI 2023 Minor match between Glentoran and Loughgall at Clough Glentorans Cillian Murray celebrates scoring Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton /Presseye

Loughgall 4

Glentoran 4

Report by Harvey Latimer

Clough hosted a pulsating encounter to kick off proceedings in the Minor Section of the SuperCupNI 2023 as Loughgall came back from 4-0 to draw 4-4 with a strong Glentoran side. 

The blues almost got off to the perfect start as striker Cody Clements pounced on a loose pass from the kickoff before driving towards goal but failed to test Phoenix Blayney in the Glentoran goal. The East Belfast side responded to their slow start and had the better of the early chances. Eoin Harden fired a shot just wide of the post, and moments later, Glens’ keeper Blayney played Cillian Murray through on goal but a heavy touch let the Loughgall backline off the hook. 

They were to be punished halfway through the first half as Mason Ayre played in Murray, who had beaten the offside trap, before finishing past the helpless Adam Campbell in the Loughgall net. A few minutes later, Murray bagged his and his team’s second goal, reacting to a deflected effort from teammate Rory Prenter. Prenter then tested the palms of Campbell who could do nothing to prevent a Glentoran third. The impressive Mason Ayre cut inside onto his left foot and curled his effort into the top corner, putting the Glens into complete control.

Despite making four changes at the break, Glentoran came out firing again and extended their advantage thanks to Cillian Murray grabbing his hat-trick, after fantastic work from Enzo Bosket. However Loughgall never lost spirit and pulled one back when they were awarded a penalty for a kick through the ball of Cody Clements. Connor Hamill stepped up and made no mistake. A comeback for Loughgall still seemed impractical until Clements found a bit of space to run into and fired a low drive into the bottom right corner of the Glentoran net. THe crowd were revived and the players believed they were back in the game. Five minutes later, it was 4-3. Substitute Caleb Black was a constant threat since his introduction and won his side a second penalty. Hamill took responsibility once again and produced the same result. 

The unimaginable turnaround became reality three minutes later. Black won a wide free kick which Hamill delivered onto the head of Cody Clements who powered it past Blayney, thus sparking wild scenes amongst the blues’ faithful. Glentoran were the side pushing for the winner in the final ten minutes and their best chance was created by Bosket who whipped in a delicious cross but Adam Nelson failed to connect cleanly. The thrilling encounter concluded with two abstract emotions, the Glens deflated after throwing away a comfortable lead and an example of ‘a never die attitude’ from the boys in blue. 

The Loughgall coaches reiterated the importance of staying positive in their half time team talk and were very pleased with what they considered a thoroughly deserved result. Optimism and morale will be sky high heading into their high profile clash with Celtic on Tuesday. Glentoran must remain positive as they look to respond with three points against Finn Harps.