Irish Cup: Glentoran beat Crusaders in semi-final

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Curtis Allen celebrates the goal that put Glentoran into the Irish Cup final

Curtis Allen's first-half strike was enough to give Glentoran a 1-0 victory over Premiership leaders Crusaders in Saturday's Irish Cup semi-final.

Allen pounced to shoot in from close-range in the 39th minute to put Eddie Patterson's men into the 2 May final.

Crusaders almost forced extra-time when Diarmuid O'Carroll's shot hit the bar.

The result ended a 15-match unbeaten run for Crusaders who had beaten Glentoran in all three of the team's Premiership meetings this season

Glentoran have won the cup 21 times, most recently in 2013.

Semi-final facts
Before this game, Glentoran had won just one of their previous 14 meetings with CrusadersBoth teams conceded only one goal on their path to the Mourneview Park semi-final
Glentoran hold the record for most consecutive Irish Cup triumphs, lifting the trophy four years in a row from 1985-88Curtis Allen's Irish League career started with Lisburn Distillery and he has also played for Linfield and Coleraine

Overall, the all-Belfast semi-final was a disappointment as a spectacle with little flowing play or goalmouth incident.

Crusaders, six points clear at the top of the league table, have been in sparkling form this season.

But star men like Paul Heatley and Gavin Whyte were not prominent and Glentoran keeper Elliott Morris enjoyed a surprisingly untroubled afternoon.

The key moment came six minutes before half-time. Allen passed out to Kym Nelson on the left side of the area and, when he delivered into the danger area, the ball broke for Allen to fire in his 19th goal of the season.

Crusaders did have a late chances to send the match into extra-time.

Midfielder Declan Caddell shot into the side-netting and then O'Carroll's drive crashed against the underside of the crossbar.

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson: "The last 10 minutes were tough for us, but the result keeps our season going for another six weeks.

"We have rebuilt the team and our young players will have gained a lot of experience from playing in a major cup semi-final.

"They are boys who have come through the academy or who we picked up from other clubs. It is a great achievement for them."

Timmy Adamson of Crusaders gets to the ball ahead of Glentoran's Marcus Kane
Timmy Adamson of Crusaders gets to the ball ahead of Glentoran's Marcus Kane
Curtis Allen's 39th-minute goal proved enough to give Glentoran victory over Crusaders
Curtis Allen's 39th-minute goal proved enough to give Glentoran victory over Crusaders

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