The conditions at Windsor Park were atrocious with driving wind and rain and both goalmouths were in a very poor state. In the final analysis, Glenavon will point to those goal areas as having a large bearing on the result, with the ball holding up in the mud aiding in Linfield’s two goals and ruining a great chance for Kyle Neill when it seemed he had to score when it was still 1-1.
Glenavon fashioned the first chance of the match when McCabe and Mulvenna linked up to feed Rainey who saw his 7th minute shot pushed round the post by Tuffey.
Three minutes later it took a great goal-line clearance by Marshall to deny Waterworth after he had picked up a ball into the Glenavon box and his shot had beaten McGrath.
Mulvenna put the Lurgan Blues ahead in the 27th minute when he scored from the spot after Philip Lowry handled Ciaran Martyn’s overhead kick.
Lowry made amends in the 40th minute when he drilled the ball into the bottom corner from 10 yards after Martyn slipped in the muddy area as he attempted to clear Sproule’s cross from the left side of the box. The goal came less than a minute after Lindsay’s ball over the top had released McGrory but the winger fired his shot right across the goal area from a difficult angle.
As half time approached McGrath made two great saves in quick succession to deny Sproule from after he raced clear and fired from 12 yards and then the Fermanagh man tipped Mulgrew’s 20 yard drive over the bar.
Glenavon had a great chance to go ahead in the first minute of the second half when Sean Ward lost the ball to Mulvenna on his own goal line but the striker fired straight at Tuffey when he had the chance to square the ball to an unmarked Ciaran Martyn.
Kyle Neill had an even better chance five minutes later but he missed his kick with the ball sticking in the mud after Rainey’s shot had been blocked following a superb cross from the right wing by McGrory.
Mulvenna then rounded Haughey but saw his shot rise over the bar from the edge of the box in the 52nd minute. Marshall then had the Glenavon supporter’s heats in their mouths as his back pass went wide of McGrath and rolled towards the goal but luckily it went outside the post.
In the 71st minute Mulvenna slipped a delightful pass into Rainey on the edge of the box but for once the striker’s touch let him down and the ball ran away from him.
Former Glenavon defender Mark Haughey poked the ball home from close range two minutes later after it got stuck in the mud in the six yard box with a host of players trying to get a touch to clear or score following a disputed free kick that was played into the far post. That was really harsh on Glenavon who had been the better side from the start of the second half.
To make matters worse for Glenavon Rhys Marshall was apparently red carded after the final whistle by Referee Arnold Hunter, presumably for dissent.
Linfield: Tuffey, Gault (c), Haughey, Ward, Quinn, BJ Burns, Lowry, Mulgrew, McAllister, Sproule, Waterworth. Subs: Carvill, Tipton, Glendinning, Clarke, Deane
Glenavon: McGrath, Singleton, Lindsay (c), Murphy, Marshall, Neill, McCabe, Martyn, McGrory, Mulvenna, Rainey. Subs: Hamilton, Bates, Kilmartin, Patton, McKeown
Cautions: Rainey 84, Mulgrew 87, Marshall shown red card after final whistle
Referee: Arnold Hunter