Preview: Portadown v Glenavon

Updated Danske Bank Premiership LogoGlenavon travel to Shamrock Park tomorrow for the final Mid-Ulster derby of the season having won the previous three encounters. Ronnie McFall’s side trail third placed Crusaders by five points going into Saturday’s game so a win would keep alive their slim hopes of overhauling the Seaview men and claim a Europa League place.

Gary Hamilton’s aim for the rest of the season is simple, “We want to win every game from now to the end of the season. All the players who have featured this season have done the Club proud. We want to keep everyone fresh and avoid injuries so it’ll be a different team tomorrow from last Saturday’s starting eleven but I have every confidence that they will give a good performance, as they’ve all done whenever they’ve been called upon.

“It’s not easy to beat your rivals three times in a season but we achieved that and tomorrow we’ll be giving it a go and trying to make it four. Even if we don’t, it’s still been a great achievement this season.”

Gary also announced that Mark Patton has signed a two year deal. “Mark’s been excellent for us in most games this season. He’s not only had a massive impact in games coming off the bench but he’s also done well when he’s been on from the start.”

Mark Patton celebrates his last-gasp winner. Photo by Tony Hendron, Presseye.com

Mark Patton celebrates his last-gasp winner in the Boxing Day Derby. Photo by Tony Hendron, Presseye.com

Match Officials

Referee Assistant 1 Assistant 2 Fourth Official
Hugh Carvill Andy Neeson Paul Robinson Lee Tavinder

Result: Glentoran 0-4 Glenavon

A well-deserved 4-0 win for a Glenavon side that featured a good blend of youth and experience as Gary Hamilton decided on a no risks policy ahead of next week’s Irish Cup semifinal. After Tiarnan Mulvenna put the Lurgan Blues ahead from the penalty spot, Mark Patton doubled the lead before late goals from teenagers Andrew Hoey and Owen McKeown, both making their league debuts, sealed a win that moves the Lurgan Blues above Glentoran into 5th place in the Danske Bank Premiership.

A happy 16 year old goal scorer; Owen McKeown celebrates his first senior Glenavon goal. Photo by Alan Weir.

A happy 16 year old goal scorer; Owen McKeown celebrates his first senior Glenavon goal. Photo by Alan Weir.

A late change to the Glentoran lineup with goal keeper Elliott Morris injured in the warmup, Aaron Hogg starting in goals and Jordan Hughes coming onto the bench.

Glenavon’s goal keeper is 18 year Sean McIlhone making his debut in a team with experience in the back four of Winkie Murphy, Kyle Neill, Eddie McCallion and Brendan Shannon and a youthful midfield. Mark Sykes, who recently featured in the NI Under 18 Centenary Shield squad makes his Glenavon debut.

Mark Sykes strides forward. Photo by Alan Weir.

Mark Sykes strides forward. Photo by Alan Weir.

Tiarnan Mulvenna wasted a great chance to open the scoring in the 13th minute when he was put clear by a great ball from Brian McCaul but he shot straight at Hogg who had advanced to the edge of his box. Moments later the striker was inches away from getting a touch to Mark Patton’s cross-shot.

Five minutes later The Oval faithful were incensed when Referee Andrew Davey only awarded a free kick on the edge of the Glenavon box after Niall Henderson went down. It certainly looked to have been inside the box.

Neill made a great block in the 29th minute to deny a close range shot from Jim O’Hanlon after he had rounded Glenavon’s young keeper. Two minutes later William Garrett made an equally vital block to prevent Mulvenna turning in Patton’s low cross.

Sammy McIlveen challenges for the ball with Niall Henderson. Photo by Alan Weir.

Sammy McIlveen challenges for the ball with Niall Henderson. Photo by Alan Weir.

The Glens defender tried to shrug off the knock he picked up in making that vital block but, after receiving treatment three times, he eventually had to limp off to be replaced by Mark Clarke.

In the 39th minute Mulvenna laid a great ball back for Glenavon debutant Mark Sykes who saw his left foot shot from inside the box well saved by Hogg.

Tiarnan Mulvenna celebrates after putting Glenavon ahead from the penalty spot. Photo by Alan Weir.

Tiarnan Mulvenna celebrates after putting Glenavon ahead from the penalty spot. Photo by Alan Weir.

In the 53rd minute Glenavon took the lead from the penalty spot after a great ball down the left by Neill released Mulvenna. He burst through a challenge by Birney but was tripped by Clarke who was very lucky to escape with just a yellow card. Mulvenna picked himself up and confidently slotted the penalty into the bottom corner.

Mark Patton scored a wonderful second goal for Glenavon in the 70th minute, rounding Hogg and sliding the ball into the empty net but it was all down to a superb pass with the outside of the boot by Mulvenna.

Mark Patton rounds Aaron Hogg before slotting in Glenavon's second goal. Photo by Alan Weir.

Mark Patton rounds Aaron Hogg before slotting in Glenavon’s second goal. Photo by Alan Weir.

Seventeen year old Andy Hoey, making only his second senior start for Glenavon, his league debut, made it 3-0 in the 81st minute after he was picked out by Patton’s ball across the front of the Glens box, the young midfielder taking a touch before thrashing a left foot shot beyond the dive of Hogg for his first Glenavon senior goal.

Andrew Hoey celebrates after scoring his first senior goal for Glenavon to make it 3-0. Photo by Alan Weir.

Andrew Hoey celebrates after scoring his first senior goal for Glenavon to make it 3-0. Photo by Alan Weir.

Owen McKeown, also making his league debut, had already shown some great touches and been denied by a good save by Hogg, before he too got on the score sheet, in stoppage time, after he was picked out on the right by a pass from the excellent Mark Patton.

Owen McKeown beats Aaron Hogg to make if 4-0 in stoppage time. Photo by Alan Weir.

Owen McKeown beats Aaron Hogg to make if 4-0 in stoppage time. Photo by Alan Weir.

Glentoran: Hogg, Bradley, Addis, Birney, Garrett (Clarke 37), McAlorum, Henderson, O’Hanlon (McKee 55), Allen, McCaffrey, Stewart (Boyd). Subs not used: Hughes, Nelson

Glenavon: McIlhone, Shannon, Murphy, McCallion, Neill (Singleton 83), McCaul, KIlmartin, McIlveen, Patton, Mulvenna (Hoey 73), Sykes (O. McKeown 64). Subs not used: Dane, Corrigan

Cautions: Kilmartin 50, Clarke 53, Boyd 77, Singleton 90+1

Referee: Andrew Davey

Preview: Glentoran v Glenavon

Updated Danske Bank Premiership Logo

Glenavon’s first post-split fixture features a trip back to the scene, less than three weeks ago, of the dramatic Irish Cup quarter final victory over the hosts. That win was the first at The Oval for Glenavon in any competition since 1999, the latest unwanted statistic that Gary Hamilton has managed to put to rest since taking over the reins at Mourneview Park.

“We’ll change things tomorrow and give some other players the opportunity. The semi-final is the biggest game for the club in several years so we’re prioritizing it and we’ll pick tomorrow’s squad with that in mind,” Gary explained. “It’ll be a young bench tomorrow and a couple of players will probably make their debuts. We’ve some very exciting young talent at the club and, as shown by James Singleton, Rhys Marshall and Robbie McDaid, they know if they’re good enough they’ll get their chance in the first team.

“On the bench tomorrow we’ll have Owen McKeown who impressed on his debut in the Mid Ulster Cup, Mark Sykes and Andrew Hoey who’ve been playing in the Northern Ireland Under-18′s recently; all very talented young players who the coaching staff are very excited about.”

Injuries to Gareth McKeown, Davy Rainey, Shane ¬†McCabe and Rhys Marshall rule them out of¬†tomorrow’s game but Club Captain Brendan Shannon returns to the squad.

Match Officials

Referee Assistant 1 Assistant 2 4th Official
Andrew Davey Roy Beacom Mark O’Brien Simon Creaney

Post-split Fixtures

The dates/opposition for all five of our post split fixtures cannot be determined until after Tuesday night’s Crusaders v Glentoran game. At present the sequence as we know it is:

Saturday 29 March: v Glentoran (A)

Saturday 12 April: v 4th placed club – CRUSADERS (H) or Portadown (A)

Saturday 19 April: v Cliftonville (A)

Tuesday 22 April: v 3rd placed club – CRUSADERS (H) or Portadown (A)

Saturday 26 April: LINFIELD (H)

Crusaders must beat Glentoran on Tuesday night to secure 3rd place, otherwise 3rd place will go to Portadown. The Tuesday 22nd game is on Easter Tuesday and kicks-off at 2.30pm to comply with UEFA regulations re Champions League nights.