Sometimes a picture can speak a thousand words. The image of Chris Morgan wheeling away in celebration, with several drained team-mates suddenly gushing with positive energy trailing in his wake set against the background of thousands of jubilant Glentoran fans hugging each other – quite possibly many did not know those in their grasp. That particular image renders further words totally irrelevant, the raw emotion and energy tells its own tale.

This was just one of dozens of powerful images from that day. Other snaps show the utter dejection of Linfield players, fans and management. Stephen Douglas’ last-ditch attempt to make a goal-line clearance. Aidan O’Kane and William Murphy can both be seen looking on in disbelief. Perhaps most strikingly of all, legendary Linfield captain falling to his knees, head in hands - dejection personified.

It is now ten years since this titanic encounter, but it will still feel like yesterday for the 12,000-plus spectators that were crammed into The Oval that day. This was the mother of all ‘Big Two’ encounters – of which there were seven in this 2004/05 campaign.

Glentoran were managed by ex-Blues boss Roy Coyle, in what would later turn out to be his last full season of the club, while Linfield were under the guidance of David Jeffrey. Two colossal figures in the local game, both with differing styles but both had the ultimate end product of success and trophies.

Going into the match, the Blues led the league table by a solitary point with two games to go. A victory would see the title remain in South Belfast, a draw would keep them firmly on course while a loss would hand all the momentum to Glentoran – who would go to struggling Crusaders in the final game.

This one was huge. Fans lined the streets surrounding the stadium. Queues upon queues. A sea of colour flooded towards the ground. Green, red and black against red, white and blue. The match was delayed twenty minutes. Fans continued to flock in long after kick-off, both ends of the stadium packed to the rafters and soaked in an unseasonably warm sun.

The tension was unbearable, hope mingled with fear and the sides emerged to a deafening noise which sent shivers down the spine. The game was frantic, frenetic, enthralling. You couldn’t take your eyes off it. Both sides were notably playing with nerves as the feelings of the fans transmitted onto the pitch.

Glentoran hit the front in the 25th minute, a long free-kick was knocked down by Halliday into the path of Stephen Parkhouse – a powerful striker rather mystifyingly deployed in midfield – and his shot fizzed through a line of players and into the net via the post. The then 23-year-old later admitted that he felt a different source of emotion, having tragically lost his mother only a few months earlier. A timely reminder that football is after all, only a game.

But this was quite a game. Linfield deservedly pulled level less than ten minutes later. Paul McAreavey – who’s last appearance at The Oval saw him sent-off in the third minute for a headbutting offence – hit a wonderful equaliser following Glenn Ferguson’s cushioned header. Game on.

Things were beginning to get fractious both on and off the pitch. Small missiles were exchanged between the two sets of fans at the two buffer zones while on the pitch players were letting the significance of the game get to them. Colin Nixon forceful push on Darren Murphy off the ball saw the Glentoran defender lucky to escape with only a yellow, handbags ensued.

Linfield had the better of proceedings on either side of the break but it was the hosts who retook the lead when Nixon, perhaps fortunate to be on the pitch, marauded forward unchallenged and fired home from a delightful Morgan back heel.

Chris Morgan had been released by Linfield the previous summer, deemed surplus to requirements due to the fearful striking duo of Glenn Ferguson and Peter Thompson, with David Larmour in reserve. Linfield fans were worried, but at least they had time on their hands and it wasn’t Morgan who had scored.

Time ticked away and just when the hordes of Blues fans started to fear the worst, they drew level in spectacular fashion with four minutes remaining. Again it was route one, goalkeeper Alan Mannus pumping the ball up the pitch, Peter Thompson cleverly flicked it on and substitute Larmour swivelled before firing home. Cue jubiliation. Linfield had effectively won the league. More missiles came pouring down from both ends. A mini police operation began to distance fans in Glentoran’s Sydenham End and the Linfield contingent in the old shed end.

Morgan’s last minute winner brings us round full circle – Alan Mannus could only palm out a header into his path, and he coolly produced a close-range finish and the ultimate twist was played out. Linfield fans will wonder why their former striker was left unmarked three yards from goal, the home support wouldn’t have cared – they knew they’d just won the league in the most dramatic of circumstances against their most bitter of rivals.

The final whistle blew and there was pandemonium. It is impossible not to mention the aftermath of the match in which horrific scenes of violence dominated the news agenda for the following week. Fans from both ends entered the playing area. At first objects were thrown – a continuation of what had happened throughout proceedings – before hand-to-hand combat occurred in the middle of the pitch.

Those depressing images possibly signalled an end to such days in local football, with rigorous ticketing restrictions enforced for many matches which are relatively low-key. But many other things changed too, much more important issues for both clubs.

The following week, Glentoran won the league – a 2-0 victory at Seaview was enough, rendering Linfield’s 3-1 defeat of Cliftonville irrelevant. In the ten seasons that have followed, Glentoran have added only one further league title, while Linfield have hovered up six. This exact ratio also applies to Irish Cup victories. (though Glentoran will contest Portadown next month in this year’s showpiece)

24 days after ‘Morgan Day’ – as Glentoran fans fondly christened it – the two sides met again at The Oval, this time in the Setanta ‘All Ireland’ Cup, in the trophy’s inaugural season. The Blues waltzed into a 0-4 lead, and two late Glentoran goals did not take the gloss of the victory. At the time, it felt like little more than a consolation, despite it ensuring that Linfield would progress to the final and making a trip to Dublin to take on the might of Shelbourne.

Tolka Park then staged one of the greatest nights in Linfield’s proud and illustrious history, as strikes from Glenn Ferguson and Peter Thompson gave the Blues a famous 2-0 victory over the star-studded Shels. A season which had seemed set to end in misery for David Jeffrey men had ended in unlikely redemption with the tangible release of emotion and relief of all involved at the club.

It would mark the beginning of a remarkable period of dominance for the club at a local level. In 2004/05, Linfield had lost only two league games yet ended up empty-handed. Jeffrey and his squad’s intensity to not let this happen again became an unstoppable force. The following season they lost one domestic match all season – to Lisburn Distillery when the league title had already been regained – and they completed a domestic clean sweep of trophies.

The following year, they achieved their second of the six league and cup ‘doubles’ they would win in seven seasons. The most significant match of the season took place at The Oval in mid-April, where a 2-1 victory for Linfield virtually sealed the league title and exorcising a few ghosts in the process.

In contrast, Glentoran seemed to lurch from one disaster to the next. A series of financial problems threatened the club with administration and it rocked the club at its very foundations. There have been several times when the future of the club looked in genuine doubt, though they have stabilised in recent years with cost-cutting measures and an emphasis on youth.

‘Morgan Day’ can now be viewed with the benefit of hindsight and history which has showed that it has monumental significance to both clubs. For Glentoran, it ended the era of success built on overspending, even if it took a few more years for the club to accept its fate and making financial adjustments. It drove Linfield a true era of dominance and unmatched superiority which was emphatically played out over several seasons.

In 2012/13 the title went to North Belfast and it has stayed there ever since. A great Linfield era had come to an end and a rebuilding job has been in force since.

The landscape of local football is now much different now than ten years ago. The top division is now twelve teams instead of sixteen. The ‘Big Two’ is now nothing more than nostalgia, with the emergence of Cliftonville and Crusaders recently eclipsing the traditional giants on the pitch.

David Jeffrey eventually stepped down from his position as Linfield boss last summer. Of the 28 players participating on 23rd April 2005, only Elliott Morris and Peter Thompson remain at their respective clubs. Sean Ward now plays in the blue of Linfield, rather than the green of Glentoran.

Chris Morgan moved onto Newry City before ending his playing career at Dungannon Swifts. He is the founder of kit supplier ClubSportNI and is a sports pundit and commentator for BBC Sport NI.

The 23rd April 2005 may now only be nostalgic recollections, both good and bad, for many but it remains perhaps the most symbolic day in recent local football history and it set the path for the next decade of power struggles and the changing landscape of the game. What will the next ten years bring?

Glentoran: Morris, Nixon, Holmes, McGibbon, Leeman, Parkhouse, Melaugh, Ward, Morgan, Halliday, McCann. Subs: Keegan, Kilmartin, McCallion.

Linfield: Mannus, King (O’Kane, 63), W.Murphy, McAreavey, McCann, Campbell, D.Murphy (Larmour, 69), Thompson (Picking, 59), Ferguson, Douglas, Bailie.