Season three started with one defeat in our opening seven games, the same amount of defeats that we would incur over the next four months! A fit squad hitting form, this season is shaping up nicely indeed!
The green circles are out in abundance throughout the months of September and October. It shouldn’t be overlooked as to how significant some of these victories actually were against difficult opposition.
The victory over Carrick was closely fought until added time in the second half when we made it look comfortable before throwing away a two goal lead against Dungannon to draw at home. Reigning league champions Glenavon came to town but we ran out deserved victors in a rampant 4 goal win then travelled to Seaview to stick two past Crusaders without reply. For the second year running we played and beat Knockbreda in the opening round of the County Antrim Shield with a little rotation allowed for in the squad.
Niklas Haugland’s second hattrick of the season inspired a 4-1 win over Warenpoint before Larne made us fight hard for progression in the County Antrim – twice levelling the scores before we sealed our third County Antrim Shield semi final appearance in three seasons! Four different goalscorers in a pleasing win on our travels to Ballymena and then a Robbie McDaid brace sank Cliftonville at The Oval. We then had consecutive NIFL Cup games which took us through to our second semi final of the season. We were simply unable to close out a 100% winning month when Newry City fought hard for a point in our fourth straight home fixture of October.
Larne struck twice in three minutes to overturn our half time advantage and mark our second loss of the season (in all domestic competitions) but the squad bounced back superbly by sweeping Coleraine aside with ease, Josh Doherty recording his first goal for the club. Then came three games against Carrick within 14 days – victories in both cup games leading us into two Cup finals but we had to pull ourselves back from a losing position in the league to steal a point.
The 2021 calendar year was drawn to a close with 14 points in December from a possible 18. Decisive victories over Dungannon, Crusaders, Ballymena and (especially pleasing) Linfield along with draws against Glenavon and Warrenpoint. No Boxing Day fixture this season as it fell on a Sunday!
There we have it! As we turn into 2022, Glentoran are back where they belong: at the top of the league! We’re 19 points ahead of newly promoted Newry who sit in a very respectable 3rd place. I feel that with 15 games to go, we’re set for an exciting battle with Glenavon for the top spot as we seek to end their run of two consecutive league titles. Both of us have only lost twice in the league this season so there will be very little margin for error.
Goodbye Navid Nasseri!
After two and a half years at the club, Navid Nasseri has made his departure becoming the third Mick McDermott signing to leave for a Saudi Arabian club! With his contract due for expiration at the end of the season, Damac FC made their interest known and Nasseri made his intentions clear that a big money move was on his mind.
Damac swooped in just before Christmas and a fee of £30k initially (potentially rising to £35k) was agreed for an immediate move. Fittingly, Navid signed off his Glentoran stint with a goal and an assist in his last appearance against Crusaders on 14th December as we recorded that impressive 5-1 win!
29 goals and 39 assists in his 119 appearances in all competitions is an incredible return for a player who played the vast majority of his time at left midfield. Nasseri made his Iran senior debut in September of this season and has made a total of 4 appearances for them, I was excited to potentially cheer him on as a Glentoran player at the 2022 World Cup but sadly that is not to be! I’ll still keep an eye on his progress and hope that at some point in the future I will be able to tempt him back to East Belfast again!