Coleraine Reserves v Glentoran Seconds

I don’t think that it has been mentioned on that ‘Ins & outs’ that run for so long on the main Glentoran forum ( For if it has then I for one have missed it) but Glentoran Seconds actually signed a couple of new players before the deadline. The two young recruits namely Owen McKeown (Ex- Glenavon) and Jordan Baxter (Ex-Crusaders) featured in our starting eleven today, both giving reasonably competent & most satisfactory individual performances & long may this continue. Welcome on board boys. As Salster has already pointed out in his post, it would certainly be fair to say that this was a relatively young Glentoran team taking to the field today. Also making an appearance in our starting lineup today were young Dean Spence & Ethan Knipe. As we have now a considerable pool of highly-talented young players at our disposal it takes no genius to state the obvious that each & every one of them should receive a run out as our management determines it.
If we are to remain entirely truthful, there is little point in opening this ‘report’ by stating that we enjoyed a dominating presence in this opening first half spell as happened in the other two matches: This time round it was Coleraine who initially enjoyed the vast majority of possession although it must be said they managed to create very little in the way of threat in the last third of the field. An example of this would be an early corner as taken from the left, the target on this occasion being the near post but young Dean Spence – one of the smallest men on the pitch – was able to clear his lines without coming under too much pressure from his Blue & White cladded opponents. When the ball happened to be whipped in again, a few minutes later, both a combination of the determined Colin Smith & his equally sturdy colleague Ross Stewart extinguished this firepower without too much trouble on their part.

I must place hand on heart whilst being perfectly honest: We created very little in way of an attacking force today to state otherwise would be to state an untruth: Chances generally regarded as ‘run-of-the-mill’, that normally wouldn’t receive so much as a second mention in my reports have therefore to be given a priority tonight otherwise it’ll appear that we did very little!

Our first half chance came courtesy of an extremely clever intelligent little touch by the highly enthusiastic Mark Hillen played from that of the right wing that set one of the new boys, Owen McKeown on route to goal. Owen cut more and more into the left of the pitch although never strayed onto that wing: he then fired a fine shot that made the Coleraine keeper earn his bag of seed for the day, the latter though proved equal by diving to the left ensuring that any danger abruptly came to a swift end!

A few moments later young Owen McKeown tried his luck again: this time an ambitious, speculative effort landed well wide of the right hand post!

Goalkeeper John Gunning came to our rescue when a fine enterprising Coleraine move, originally started from the midfield, worked then onto the right wing the final ball riveted in with astonishing pace but young Gunning sped out of his area to fist clear after a Coleraine shirt prepared himself to hammer the first nail into our coffin! It was not to be at this stage, Sir!

Nonetheless soon the stage was set for it to be: And when it came it was to be of our own making: We have only ourselves to blame. I shall refrain from going overboard on these lads tonight: These young fellows are basically serving apprentices whereas in all apprenticeships mistakes shall be made. It is the learning process from these mistakes that matters. With this in mind I shall omit the name of the young defender(s) whom failed to clear their lines leaving acres of space for a simple played through ball to be administered to a Coleraine colleague standing just inside the eighteen yard box who tucked this deep into the bottom right hand corner giving goalkeeper Gunning no chance!

Coleraine added number two shortly afterwards after yet another breakdown in communication in the Glentoran defence after clear imminent failure to clear the lines. This time the ball arrived from the middle of midfield out to the left wing: Again we witnessed non existent challenges that resulted in a high ball being played into one of their number deep within the box in what I would consider a position that he should never have scored from. He did: Thus, if I am to refrain from the naming of guilty parties in the previous incident I shall do so again. Young footballers, as I have stressed earlier, are no different from the working person learning his or her apprenticeship: To gain much sough invaluable experience in any industry we must first learn from our own errors within it.

Coleraine carved us open yet again when a three-man move almost resulted in yet another goal: This resulted in a one to one with goalkeeper John Gunning whom raced from his line, did the right thing by restricting the size of the target, spreadeagled himself, his would be tormentor flicked the ball to the right narrowly evading the right hand post. Young Gunning did extremely well by his presence & his decision to go to ground as he did but Coleraine shall no doubt blame this on poor finishing to increase their lead.

With little time remaining on the clock before the referee blew for half time we were handed a life-line after some great wing-work all originally arising from the right as young Owen McKeown floated a great ball over toward young Adam Calvert -standing several yards aback from the near post – who seized on the opportunity by meeting the ball with a powerful high velocity header to bazooka it into the roof of the net! Super goal from a really worked special move!

Half time Coleraine reserves 2-1 Glentoran seconds

This second half opened up with a look about a team that meant business: This exceptionally young & relatively inexperienced team gritted the teeth with a glint of urgency sparling in the retina of the eye! We, on the terraces, looked a little confused as we seen one of our relatively newcomers tee up a free kick that we had been awarded. Surely, we thought, Colin Smith should be the man designated such a task? But lo & behold, what a sensational drive by young Knipe as he managed to sting the keepers hands with a fiercely struck drive from all of twenty-five yards!

Coleraines number 10 almost increased the home sides tally as he should really have scored after yet another error arising from the defence, possession lost on the right wing, the proceeding ball knocked through to a predator arriving into the box but incredibly he made a complete mish-mash of it by knocking it well wide of the right hand post!

As I previously stated this was a game of few chances: One of the most entertaining pieces of sheer individualism arose from Mark Hillen, who, with quicksilver flamboyance, beat an opponent from a few yards or so within his opponents territory. Mark made a daring, pulsating run, deep into the enemy zone, when he got as far as the by-line his cross happened to be cut out by a Coleraine defender who had the stamina to stay with him. The resulting corner was taken by Owen McKeown, who aimed for Glentoran Captain Ross Stewart standing in a central position within the box, but unfortunately he misdirected his header wide of the target!

Dylan Elliot was most unlucky not to get on the end of a Colin Smith ball, played up the side of the left wing that seen the former young man pursue after it but the keeper had read the situation well, thwarting Dylan’s attempt to connect at the last possible moment.

We had a great shout for a penalty kick waved aside by todays man in black (Well, actually in red) for a seemingly clear as light hand-ball as the ball traveled across the box to intended target Colin Smith but little point in fomenting the issue as it wasn’t given.

We almost secured our equaliser after young midfielder Ryan Mahood & a defender both rose for the ball deep in the box, the defender appeared to get the final touch, it arrived nicely to our always dangerous & highly alert Mark Hillen who from about twenty five yards let fly with a sensational attempt on goal that flew over the keeper, in the process smashing the underside of the crossbar before being eventually cleared to a position of relative safety! It was yet another attempt on goal from a player who must surely be rewarded with the recognition that he truly deserves – a crack at the first team!

Coleraine made it three one thus put the game beyond all reasonable doubt after a ball played from the practically the left by-line was drilled home with a fine finish to wrap up the game & the points. Colin Smith came close to reducing the arrears with a splendid long range drive that the keeper reacted well to, managing to turn it round the left hand post!

Not exactly our most finest hour but hopefully a valuable lesson has been gained by our young blood today for if such has not been then we can either kiss or wave goodbye to any serious ambitions we currently hold in the Steel & Sons Cup next week.

Glentoran Seconds:

1/ John Gunning 2/ Dean Spence 3/ Adam Calvert 4/ Ryan Mahood 5/ Colin Smith 6/ Ross Stewart 7/ Owen McKeown 8/ Ethan Knipe 9/ Mark Hillen 10/ Jordan Baxter 11/ Dylan Elliot.

Subs: Lee Chapman, Stephen Boyd, Gary Watson, Jonathan Dallas & Mattie Kerr.