Irish Premiership: Glentoran fight back to beat Ballymena 3-1 at the Oval

Robbie McDaid scored his sixth league goal of the season to put the Glens 2-1 ahead
Robbie McDaid scored his sixth league goal of the season to put the Glens 2-1 ahead

Glentoran scored three second-half goals as they came from behind to beat Ballymena United 3-1 at the Oval.

Cathair Friel gave Ballymena the lead on the stroke of half-time when his penalty rebound was adjudged to have crossed the line.

But Hrvoje Plum, Robbie McDaid and Marcus Kane scored to secure three points for the Glens.

Glentoran move to within a point of fourth-placed Linfield while Ballymena in sixth are without a win in four.

Having won their last three games in all competitions, the hosts started assertively, with McDaid seeing his right-footed shot whistle past the post after 13 minutes.

A few minutes later, having left James Ervin in his wake with an exquisite turn, Elvio van Overbeek felt he should have had a penalty, claiming that the Sky Blues captain tugged him back as he charged into the area.

The visitors rarely threatened until Josh Kelly's cross found Friel, whose first-time shot was saved by Antolovic at his near post.

But the Croatian goalkeeper was left fuming at the outcome of the first-half's major flashpoint five minutes later.

After Jude Winchester went down in the box under Conor Pepper's challenge, Antolovic could only turn Friel's penalty back into the striker's path. Friel's rebound lacked conviction, but despite Antolovic's scurried save, referee Tim Marshall decided that the ball had crossed the line.

Spurred on by a burning sense of injustice, Glentoran seized control of the game during a commanding second-half performance.

Five minutes after the restart, Plum released McDaid in behind. The striker skipped past Ervin before chipping the ball to Plum, who took one touch and clinically fired past Ross Glendinning.

The Glens turned the game on its head seven minutes later when Ervin failed to deal with Navid Nasseri's cross, allowing McDaid to head home from close range for his sixth league goal of the season.

Kane made sure of the points when he met Plum's corner and headed home despite Andy McGrory's attempt to clear it off the line.

What they said

Glentoran assistant manager Paul Millar: "I thought overall we thoroughly deserved it. I thought the penalty looked soft and our boys were adamant that it didn't go behind the line, but we came out and scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The boys showed a lot of character and spirit to come back and produce an unbelievable second half."

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey: "First half, I thought we were very much in control and deservedly went in 1-0 up, but it's been a long time since I've not been able to work out an analysis of why then we seemed not to respond after making a mistake. Jude Winchester made a mistake but we didn't respond and that was the disappointing aspect of this evening. I can't work out exactly what has happened."

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