Glentoran 0-1 Dundalk: Report
Mark Quigley’s magnificent 82nd-minute volley saw Dundalk put one foot in the last four of the Setanta Sports Cup as they defeated Glentoran 1-0 in the first leg of the sides’ quarter-final tie at The Oval in Belfast on Monday evening. The 25-year-old hit the stunning strike after a Daniel Kearns corner was only cleared to the edge of the box, but the visitors can thank Super Peter Cherrie for keeping them on level terms in the first half as he brilliantly denied FIFA Puskás Award nominee Matthew Burrows after the striker found himself with just the Scottish star to beat.
Dundalk withstood large periods of pressure from The Glens in the opening period, and survived a number of scares. The first came just past the quarter-hour mark when Colin Nixon headed a Jaimie McGovern free-kick back across goal but Andrew Waterworth’s close-range header was easily gathered by Cherrie. Richard Gibson then glanced a Daryl Fordyce delivery off the post, and the visitors failed to heed that warning as Glentoran again threatened before the break, Burrows breaking through but his low effort was superbly pushed away by Cherrie. After half-time, Dundalk improved and should have taken the lead on 50 minutes when Jason Byrne’s header from a pinpoint Kearns cross was tipped over by Elliot Morris. Late on, Byrne spurned another opening, shooting wide from a tight angle after a mix-up in the home defence, but the stage was soon set for Quigley to fire the Lilywhites to a priceless victory and one-goal advantage ahead of the deciding leg at Oriel Park on 21 March.
Dundalk, looking to repeat their heroics in the Northern Ireland capital after a sensational 5-3 win over Linfield at Windsor Park three weeks ago, started in determined mood and got at their opponents in the opening minutes. However, Glentoran quickly grew into the game, their first chance arriving on four minutes, but Burrows shot well wide when well placed. On nine minutes, they were on the attack again, this time Neal Gawley’s cross punched clear by Cherrie, before Jason Hill had an effort blocked. Moments later, Burrows was denied brilliantly by Michael Hector as he lined up a shot from ten-yards. Glentoran continued to threaten and Waterworth tried his luck from distance but it went the wrong side of Cherrie’s right-hand post. Past the quarter-hour mark and Waterworth should have tested Cherrie but his tame close-range header was easily gathered after McGovern and Nixon had combined to set him up. Midway through the half, the hosts inched closer to breaking the deadlock when Fordyce’s cross from the left was glanced towards the far top corner by Gibson but it agonisingly clipped the post and went wide.
In the next phase of play, Gawley saw his shot saved by Cherrie. Dundalk were struggling to make inroads in attack despite their best efforts, but on the half-hour mark they almost created an opening, Byrne and Kearns combining, with the latter’s through-ball to Stephen Maher just too heavy as it ran into the arms of Morris. On 34 minutes, Glentoran should have taken the lead when Fordyce slipped in Burrows but with just Cherrie between him and a crucial lead goal the Scottish ‘keeper got down wonderfully to push away the low effort. That buoyed Dundalk and they immediately broke at pace, Byrne raiding down the left and getting into the box before cutting back and shooting low, an effort which was gathered at the second attempt by Morris. At the other end, Cherrie again denied Burrows, this time holding a header. On 38 minutes, Quigley attempted to free Kearns but his flick ran through to Morris. Dundalk pressed for an opener in the final seconds of the half, and they could have got it on the stroke of half-time. Quigley pressured Morris in the right-back area and the ‘keeper’s clearance only fell as far as Keith Ward, inside the hosts’ half, but Byrne failed to control the winger’s pass, with Morris a relieved man. Following the resumption, Glentoran immediately threatened when a corner was only cleared as far as Gawley but he blazed over from inside the area.
On 50 minutes, Dundalk tested Morris seriously for the first time. Kearns worked his magic down the right and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Byrne whose header was superbly tipped over by Glentoran’s No1. The resulting corner, from Kearns, fell to Hector but he shot well off-target from 15-yards. The Lilywhites were gradually growing into the game, and on 55 minutes Quigley and Byrne combined on the edge of the box, with Byrne turning sharply and flashing a fine 18-yard effort narrowly wide of Morris’s left-hand post. On the hour-mark, Dundalk continued to go in search of a valuable away goal and Quigley found himself with options, but with Kearns in a good position on the right, the former Saint Patrick’s Athletic striker elected to go himself only to be muscled off the ball. The game then entered a quiet period with clear-cut chances non-existent, but on 71 minutes Glentoran somehow failed to hit the front. Burrows broke quickly down the left, with his cross being cleared behind by Shane Guthrie, with the resulting corner causing all sorts of problems, the ball eventually deflected behind. Straight away the hosts again threatened, with the second corner falling to the back post to Burrows whose cross was headed narrowly over by Nixon.
With a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Dundalk were back on the front foot with Byrne flashing a low delivery across goal which evaded both Kearns and Ward. On 79 minutes, another chance fell the way of the visitors when Quigley and Ward combined, with a neat ball over the top aimed at Byrne. It appeared Morris would gather only for him and defender Nixon to collide, with the ex-Shelbourne forward left with a gaping goal, but, from a tight angle, the shot hit the side-netting. But Dundalk did not have to wait long for the opener and ultimately winner as it arrived just three minutes later. The initial attack saw Ward hold the ball up well inside the area for Byrne whose shot was blocked behind. Kearns’ corner was cleared to Quigley on the edge of the area and he steadied himself before smashing a fabulous volley to the ‘keeper’s top left-hand corner. It was a wonderful strike from the talented Dubliner who brought his Setanta Sports Cup tally this year to three goals having netted a double in Windsor Park. Dundalk had a chance to put further daylight between themselves and Glentoran ahead of the second leg when, on 86 minutes, Quigley fed Byrne but his attempted chip was gathered by Morris.
dundalkfc.com Man of the Match: DEAN BENNETT (DUNDALK).
GLENTORAN FC: Elliot Morris, Jaimie McGovern, Jason Hill, Colin Nixon ©, Johnny Taylor, Neal Gawley, Daryl Fordyce, Richard Clarke, Andrew Waterworth, Matthew Burrows (Peter Steele 78), Richard Gibson.
Booked: N Gawley (37), R Gibson (75).
Unused Subs: Grant Gardiner, Calum Birney, Michael Doran, Daniel Burns.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie, Simon Madden ©, Michael Hector, Shane Guthrie, Nathan Murphy, Dean Bennett, Stephen Maher, Daniel Kearns, Mark Quigley, Keith Ward (Stephen McDonnell 90), Jason Byrne (Johnny Breen 88).
Goal: M Quigley (82).
Booked: D Bennett (58), D Kearns (91).
Unused Subs: Paul Murphy (GK), Greg Bolger, Mark Griffin.
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Fermanagh).