Gary’s definitely claiming this one! Photo by Alan Weir
Shane McCabe sums up a great comeback win for Glenavon as he speaks to the Lurgan Mail’s Sports Editor Gary Ellis.Curtis Allen put the hosts ahead in under 3 minutes when he beat Alan Blaney to the ball as he came in an attempt to collect Niall Henderson’s left wing free kick.
Shortly after Eoin Bradley and Gary Hamilton had failed to capitalise on good openings in the Glens box, a quick break from a Glenavon corner allowed Steven Gordon to play in Jordan Stewart and he finished with an excellent curling right foot shot past Blaney’s dive to make it 2-0.
It was looking bleak for the visitors at that stage but full credit to Glenavon as the players came storming back with what was initially credited as a hat trick from player-manager Hamilton to give the Lurgan Blues a 3-2 half-time lead. After the game Gary, with his customary honesty, credited the second goal to Rhys Marshall. “Rhys’s header was going in and I was about to tap it in to make sure when the defender got a touch and hit it into the roof of the net,” the Glenavon striker told the press after the game.
There was no doubts about Hamilton’s first goal which came in the 34th minute when he smashed a right foot shot into the roof of the net after Kyle Neill had nodded Gareth McKeown’s deep cross on to Ciaran Caldwell. He laid the ball back to Hamilton to fire in an unstoppable shot from 8 yards.
Glenavon’s second goal was looking like a tap in for the boss from a yard out when Rhys Marshall appeared at the back post and nodded down a deep free kick from Neill but apparently the final touch was off a defender on the goal line.
Winkie Murphy rolls back the years as he out-jumps Stephen McAlorum. Photo by Alan Weir
Caldwell went very close as he ran onto a chest down on the edge of the area from Winkie Murphy but his low shot flashed just wide of Morris’s left hand post.
Glenavon’s third goal came in first half stoppage time when the Glens defence failed to get the ball clear and Marshall got possession in the ‘D’ and slipped it to Hamilton on the right of the box. His shot took a deflection off Barry Holland that lifted it over Morris to take the visitors into the break 3-2 in front.
Glentoran were a shadow of the team that had stormed 2-0 in front inside 11 minutes of the first half and Glenavon could easily have extended the lead. Caldwell was unlucky on several occasions.
Kyle Neill scored the fourth goal to cap a great comeback win. Photo by Alan Weir
Kyle Neill made it 4-2 in the 72nd minute with an unstoppable left foot drive into the roof of the net as his run was picked out by a great ball over the top from Bradley. The former Glens player continued his run into the box and gave Elliott Morris no chance as he unleashed an unstoppable shot past the keeper at the near post.
Ciaran Caldwell was a powerhouse in the Glenavon midfield. Photo by Alan Weir
Morris made a great save to turn away a powerful free kick from Bradley in the 83rd minute and the Derry man had strong claims for a penalty denied a minute later when he was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Niall Henderson.
In the final minute Blaney came out to deny Allen a late consolation and in the end the visitors left The Oval with a well-deserved 3 points that brings them level on points with Crusaders and keeps them just a point behind next weeks opponents, second-placed Portadown.
Eoin Bradley hurdles a challenge from Glens defender Johnny Addis. Photo by Alan Weir
Glentoran: Morris, Magee (Birney 25), Addis, Holland, Henderson, Gordon, McAlorum, Stewart, O’Hanlon (McCaffrey 46), Allen, Nelson (Scullion 62). Subs not used: McKee, Hogg (GK)
Goals: Allen 3, Stewart 11
Cautions: Gordon 41
Glenavon: Blaney, McKeown, Murphy, Dillon, Singleton (McGrory 46), Marshall, McCabe, Caldwell, Neill (Martyn 74), Hamilton (Kilmartin 78), Bradley. Subs not used: McNally, Hoey.
Goals: Hamilton 34, 45+2, Marshall 36, Neill 72
Cautions: Singleton 29
Referee: Ian McNabb (Carrickfergus)