IRISH LEAGUE: Glentoran take derby spoils against Linfield
Robbie McDaid came off the substitutes' bench to help Glentoran claim a famous Big Two victory at the Oval.
Gary Haveron’s boys ended six years of hurt by claiming the Boxing Day bragging rights against bitter rivals Linfield, who hadn’t lost in the previous 13 outings in East Belfast.
It looked so good for David Healy’s team when Cameron Stewart shot them into a first half lead.
But the momentum swung in the Glens’ favour when Curtis Allen equalised two minutes before the break and then McDaid produced his Christmas party piece in injury time.
Even though the Glens had Dylan Davidson dismissed after McDaid’s winner, it still failed to take the gloss of what was a landmark victory.
The Blues lost their influential skipper Jamie Mulgrew after only eight minutes, the midfielder limping off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Healy’s boys took the lead on 25 minutes. Carroll’s long punt up the middle was gobbled up by Stephen Lowry, who sent Stewart hurtling into the box and he cleverly slid the ball past the outstretched boot of the struggling Morris.
Linfield almost shot themselves in the foot 10 minutes before the break when Josh Robinson’s careless back pass flew past big Carroll, who had to scamper back to retrieve what would have been an embarrassing situation.
But against all the odds, the home team were level two minutes before the interval. Robert Garrett needlessly conceded a free kick by barging over Jonathan Smith. James Knowles produced a great delivery that took a deflection before arriving on the boot of Allen and he made no mistake.
The game erupted for all the wrong reasons when Mark Stafford and Davidson clashed right in front of both dugouts,, which led to a free-for-all that involved practically every player on the pitch. Both instigators were duly booked when the dust settled.
Substitute Ross Clarke missed a glorious chance to nick all three points for the Blues when he blazed over the crossbar.
But it was the Glens who stole it right at the finish. McDaid’s scuffed shot deflected off a defender and crept past Carroll.
GLENTORAN; Morris, Garrett, Kane, Birney, Kelly, Allen, Davidson, Kerr, Knowles, Nelson, Smith (McDaid 60).
Unused subs: Foley, McMullan, McNicholl, Redman.
LINFIELD: Carroll, Stafford, Stewart, Robinson, Haughey, Waterworth, M Clarke, Fallon (Millar 81), Mulgrew (Lowry 8), Garrett, Quinn (R Clarke).
Unused subs: Rooney, Mitchell.
REFEREE: Ian McNabb.