Bet McLean League Cup: Glentoran edge Coleraine in penalty shootout

Glentoran players celebrate with Elliott Morris after a late penalty shootout at The Oval.
Glentoran players celebrate with Elliott Morris after a late penalty shootout at The Oval.

Joe Crowe was the unlikely hero in Tuesdsay night’s Hallowe’en thriller at the Oval.

The touch paper wasn’t lit until the second half, but when this game did get started, there were plenty of tricks and treats on show.

Ronnie McFall’s Glentoran finally booked their place in the BetMcLean League Cup quarter final following a night of drama that included extra-time and a dramatic penalty shootout.

Curtis Allen, Chris Gallagher and Crowe delivered from the spot for the Glens with Jamie McGonigle and Eoin Bradley replying for battling Coleraine.

Earlier, Carson shot the Bannsiders ahead before goals from John Herron ands Allen – his 102nd for the club – turned it around for the Glens.

However, substitute McGonigle sent the tie into extra-time by levelling five minute from the final whistle.

The young striker then established the lead for the visitors, but that man Allen plundered a late party piece to send it to penalties.

Carson struck the first blow on 21 minutes when Aaron Burns was hauled down by the outstretched leg of Glens’ skipper Marcus Kane.

The midfielder whipped in a great cross from wide on the right that completely deceived everyone, including goalkeeper Elliott Morris with the ball creeping in at the back post.

Glentoran were back on terms within two minutes. Stephen Lowry was pulled up for fouling Curtis Allen 20 yards out and Herron stepped up to smash the free kick into the net, via the head of Coleraine man Burns.

Both teams at last opened up after that. Ciaran Harkin went close for the Bannsiders with a well-hit drive from 30 yards that just fixed over, while the home team roared straight to the other end with Chris Gallagher trying his luck with an audacious effort from distance that Chris Johns was relieved to see hurtle over the top.

Then, just before the break, Kane and Herron’s clever line-up resulted in Allen curling a good chance past the post.

The visitors came out with all guns blazing after the break. Carson displayed great tenacity and determination to leave Redman trailing in his wake down the right before stinging the hands of Morris with a ripping low drive.

After soaking up the pressure, Glentoran forged ahead for the first on 62 minutes with a great piece of opportunism from Allen.

He was picked out by a wonderful cross from Nathan Kerr and the striker swivelled before beating Johns with a powerful header.

Seconds later the visitors thought they had levelled when Lowry played in Burns, but his low vicious drive was brilliantly beaten away by the outstretched glove of veteran shot-stopper Morris.

Coleraine pinched an equaliser with five minutes remaining. McGonigle looked to be in an offside position when he picked up a Bradley flick but he wasted no time in stabbing home.

Glentoran were right out of luck in extra time when Redman’s free kick was misjudged by Johns, but Adam Mullan got back to hoof Kane’s header off the line.

But referee Evan Boyce stunned the home fans by awarding a penalty kick when Bradley’s shot struck the hand of James Ferrin.

McGonigle stepped up to ram home the spot kick.

But the gritty Glens responded within two minutes. Redman’s piercing run on the left created the chance for Allen and he poked home at the near post.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Kane, Gallagher, Herron, Allen, McDaid (Gordon 83), Kerr, Pepper (Davidson 91), Crowe, Redman, Ferrin.

Unused subs: Nelson, Garrett, McMahon, McCarthy, O’Neill.

COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Harkin (McGonigle 70), Douglas, McCauley, Lowry, Bradley, Carson, McConaghie (Gawne 85), Burns, Canning.

Unused subs: Doherty, Crown, Owens, Whiteside, Bradley.

REFEREE: Evan Boyce.