Parkhouse wins it for Glentoran
IN a game strangely lacking many goalmouth incidents, Glentoran won the "clash of the champions" with a 76th minute goal from Stephen Parkhouse.
Saints' centre back Steven Evans slipped and lost possession to the substitute forward who seized his chance to send a curling 25-yard shot past Gerard Doherty.
There was little threat to either goal in the first-half after visiting keeper Elliott Morris easily held Martin Naylor's early shot.
Marc Lloyd-Williams flashed a 20-yarder just past Morris's upright on the half-hour and Chris Morgan failed to take advantage when put through by the excellent Peter McCann for the visitors.
Doherty clawed the ball away under pressure from Michael Halliday in one raid while Shaun Holmes, the former Wrexham and Northern Ireland international, also went close with a free kick for the visitors.
A raft of half-time substitutions improved the game as a spectacle and Darrell Avery gave TNS a warning of the Glens' attacking threat when he rattled Doherty's crossbar from the edge of the box.
After going behind, manager Ken McKenna introduced Tom Rooney and former Leigh RMI utility man Tom Field, who quickly made an impact with a shot that fizzed past a post following a good run by Scholarship youth Mark Davies, who again impressed in a first team shirt.
Glens’ manager Roy Coyle was realistic about TNS’s chances at Anfield but full of praise.
"They can play," said Coyle, whose own side face a huge game against Eircom League champions Shelbourne in the Champions League qualifiers.
"They’re very skilful, work hard and have a great understanding. They are well organised and you can see why they are the Welsh champions."