Changes for Glenavon: In: Coleman, Lindsay, McGrory. Out: Connolly, McKeown, Rainey
Kris Lindsay lasted only 14 minutes before having to go off injured with a dead leg sustained when he got a whack from Andy Coleman as the Glenavon keeper made a superb save to clear a deflected shot off the line. Gareth McKeown came on as his replacement.
Cliftonville created a string of chances in the first 20 minutes but Andy Coleman was equal to them, making one brilliant save to claw the ball away from under the bar after Joe Gormley’s shot was deflected by Kyle Neill. He also turned Ryan Catney’s low shot round the post, saved a Gormley header and denied Liam Boyce after he slid in at the back post to make contact with Gormley’s low cross-shot.
In the 21st minute it took a brilliant last-ditch block by Jamie McGovern to deny Mark Patton but four minutes later the Reds did get the goal that their play deserved. Even then Coleman had saved the initial shot from Gormley but he could do nothing about Boyce’s follow up.
As half time approached Shane McCabe fired over the bar and Andy McGrory played in Ciaran Martyn but he was flagged offside. In the final minute of the half, McKeown’s 25 yard free kick whistled narrowly over the bar.
Early in the second half Guy Bates fired just over from McKeown’s through ball and Neill drew a fantastic save from Conor Devlin as the Reds keeper tipped his shot over as it headed for the top corner from a well struck drive following a short free kick taken out on the right wing.
Patton then hit the underside of the bar with a fierce shot after he got on the end of McGrory’s cross with McCabe going down in the box as the ball rebounded but Referee Dunlop wasn’t interested in Glenavon’s strong penalty claims.
Gormley scored Cliftonville’s second after the assistant failed to flag for a throw in to Glenavon as the ball clearly rolled out before the cross came in from Martin Murray that lead to the goal. In the aftermath Referee Ross Dunlop, after consulting with the 4th official, sent off Eddie McCallion, presumably for something he had said in complaint about the throw-in non-decision.
Ciaran Martyn’s 84th minute goal gave Glenavon a glimmer of hope and to be fair, the second half performance, even after going down to 10 men. deserved something from the game. Martyn touched in as Rhys Marshall got forward to put over a low cross.
The ten men continued to apply pressure but couldn’t quite get the second goal that their second half performance warranted.
Cliftonville: Devlin, McGovern,Scannell, Donnelly, Seydak (c), Smyth, Catney, Murray (O’Carroll 73), Doherty, Boyce, Gormley (Cosgrove 82). Subs not used: McMullan, McNeill, McNally.
Glenavon Coleman, Neill, McCallion, Lindsay (c) (McKeown 14), Murphy, Marshall, McCabe (Kilmartin 65), Martyn, McGrory, Patton, Bates (Hamilton 69). Subs not used: McDaid, McIlveen
Cautions: McCabe 57, McCallion s/o 63, McGovern 89
Referee: Ross Dunlop