Gary Hamilton opened the scoring after only 37 seconds. The home side kicked off and won a throw in which Gareth McKeown took. William Murphy flicked it on and the gaffer’s left foot shot went in off the boot of Johnny Flynn though the strike was on target and going in anyway.
Murphy was sent off after 19 minutes when he was adjudged to have gone in with a two-footed challenge on Jude Winchester as he went in to clear the ball after Rhys Marshall had made a block tackle.
The ten men only managed to hold out for seven minutes before David McDaid showed why Tommy Breslin signed him as he wove his way past Marshall and got a lucky bounce off Conor Dillon before squaring the ball to Joe Gormley who made no mistake with a shot to the bottom corner from 12 yards.
The Champions went in front in first half stoppage time with a close range finish by Stephen Garrett. Alan Blayney had brilliantly tipped his shot over the bar but when Donnelly’s corner came over a scramble ensued in the 6 yard box with McDaid’s shot blocked by Kyle Neill before breaking to Garrett who slammed it home at the back post.
Hamilton had a chance to level the scores nine minutes into the second half when he got on the end of Martyn’s flick on but, stretching, he could only shoot straight into Devlin’s chest. A minute later he did well to hold up the ball in the box and lay it off to Caldwell but he hesitated a fraction and allowed Flynn to close down his shot but the rebound fell to McGrory and his shot came back off the foot of the far post, with Neill blasting well over.
In the 62nd minute Devlin had to be on his toes as he tipped Caldwell’s 30 yard shot over the bar.
Glenavon pressed hard for an equaliser but Garrett doubled his tally for the game in stoppage time courtesy of a wicked deflection that gave Blayney no chance.
Glenavon were always in contention for a point despite playing over 70 minutes with ten men and that late goal was hard on Gary Hamilton and his players who never gave up.
Glenavon: Blayney, McKeown, Dillon, Murphy, Marshall, McGrory, McCabe, Caldwell, Neill, Martyn, Hamilton. Subs: Lindsay, Kilmartin (McCabe 74), McNally (Dillon 86), Hoey, McKendry (Hamilton 90)
Cliftonville: Devlin, Cosgrove, Smyth, Flynn, Seydak, Garrett, Catney, Winchester, Donnelly, McDaid, Gormley. Subs: McGovern, Johnston (Winchester 56), McMullan, Murray (Gormley 90+2), Mulvenna (McDaid 77)
Referee: Raymond Crangle