Out for Glenavon were Kyle Neill, Ciaran Martyn, Rhys Marshall and Eoin Bradley.
Kevin Braniff opened the scoring four minutes from the interval with a 25 yard free kick into the top corner after Referee Arnold Hunter penalised Seanas Clucas for handling an Andy McGrory shot.
Alan Weir’s great picture captures the moment when Kevin Braniff’s free kick beats Jonathan Tuffey’s despairing dive.
Kevin Braniff celebrates what proved to be the winning goal. Photo by Alan Weir.
That goal proved enough for the excellent Lurgan Blues against an out of sorts Linfield side. Even the dismissal of Kris Lindsay in the 71st minute for a second caution couldn’t deprive Gary Hamilton’s side of the three points.
Andy McGrory had spurned a great chance to double the lead early in the second half when he shot inches wide after Braniff had crossed to Darren Forsyth from a throwing down into the right corner by Gareth McKeown. The big striker squared the ball to an unmarked McGrory but he put his shot just off target.
Andy McGrory hits a strike. Photo by Alan Weir.
Linfield could have equalised in the 74th minute but for an incredible goal line clearance by Paddy McNally who had just come on for Forsyth in the wake of the Lindsay dismissal.
Ciaran Caldwell was also unlucky on a couple of occasions, first he almost forced the ball in after Jonathan Tuffey misjudged a high cross by McGrory and then he hit the crossbar with a shot after he turned inside the box onto a throw in by James Singleton.
A very happy Glenavon crowd. Photo by Alan Weir.
Linfield: Tuffey, Richards, Haughey (c), Callacher, Lowry, Carvill,Burns, Clarke,Morrow, Sproule, Clucas. Subs: Glendinning (GK), Hegarty, Waterworth (Morrow 46), Thompson (Burns 64), Millar (Callacher 46)
Glenavon: Blaney, McKeown, Dillon, Lindsay (c), Singleton, Kilmartin, McCabe, Caldwell, McGrory, Braniff, Forsyth. Subs: McCallion, Hamilton (Braniff 90+3), McNally (Forsyth 72), Hoey, McNamee (McKeown 89).
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)
Kevin Braniff “To get a result here is obviously massive but we set out to get the three points; we’d have went away with a point but to get the three points is massive for us. I thought we played really well; we kept the ball well and, I think for pretty much most of the game, until Kris got sent off, we bossed the game, in my opinion.
“There were a few arguments with me and Shane about who was going to take the free kick but I stood my ground and managed to put it in!
“It was excellent, defensively from the team, holding out for the last 20 minutes with ten men, especially here, with the amount of pressure they put on us, it was a massive performance.
“Last week was disappointing for my own personal reasons and also for the team but to come here and get the three points today, you can’t ask for much more.
“Its taken me a little bit of time to settle in to the way the team are playing and getting used to things. Personally, I feel I haven’t been playing up to the way I want to be but today I felt I was getting to where I want to be.”
Nigel Law: “There was a lot of talk pre-season about can we build with Kevin and recruiting some key players in the summer and can we build on the Irish Cup. For us, we said we want to stay a top six club; we want to establish ourselves there. We don’t want to be a club, maybe the likes of Coleraine or Ballinamallard who’ve been up there then dropped out. We want to just keep improving. The big thing for us at the minute is to improve our home form and be a wee bit harder to beat at home. We’re unbeaten away from home but at home we’ve let a couple of games slip, the Mid-Ulster derbies, both of them. If we can do that we’ll amass enough points to improve on last year.”