An early goal for the league leaders as Paul Heatley ran onto a long ball and benefited from a fortunate bobble off Rhys Marshall to fire past Alan Blayney in the 7th minute.
Blayney made a brilliant save in the 20th minute to keep out a Gavin Whyte shot but Glenavon was relieved when the offside flag went up after Colin Coates had netted the rebound.
The scores were levelled five minutes before the break as Ciaran Martyn rose to meet Kevin Braniff’s free kick and Rhys Marshall stabbed the ball home from close range after Sean O’Neill had made a superb save.
Rhys Marshall wheels away after scoring the equaliser. Photo by Alan Weir.
Parity lasted only a minute though as Crues broke through Richard Clarke, he fed it out to Heatley and he put over a fantastic cross that Whyte hit first time past Blayney.
Less than a minute into the second half and Glenavon was reduced to ten men when the referee adjudged Marshall to have denied Heatley a goal-scoring opportunity as the two came together in the Glenavon box. Diarmuid O’Carroll slammed home the spot kick.
Alan Blayney gets fingertips to Diarmuid O’Carroll’s penalty but couldn’t keep it out. Photo by Brian Bain
Jordan Owens scored Crusaders 100th goal of the season with a simple finish from ten yards as the Glenavon defence was cut open by a run down the right by Whyte and his cutback left Owens with an easy chance that he was never going to miss.
Glenavon pulled a goal back in the 55th minute when the entire Crusaders defence decided to leave Gareth McKeown’s free kick and Martyn nipped in to head past O’Neill.
Ciaran Martyn heads past Sean O’Neill to score Glenavon’s second goal. Photo by Alan Weir.
Yet again though the Hatchet men roared back with a goal less than a minute later when Whyte lobbed Blayney after Heatley had picked up O’Neill’s quick free kick and poked the ball forward.
The goals keep flying in and this time it was a penalty to Glenavon after Timmy Adamson blocked Martyn’s shot with his arm. Braniff made no mistake from the spot to make it 3-5.
Sean O’Neill is sent the wrong way by Kevin Braniff’s spot kick. Photo by Alan Weir.
Whyte completed his hat trick courtesy of a fierce shot that came down off the underside of the bar and was adjudged by the assistant to have crossed the line. Blayney won’t be happy with his part in the goal as he seemed to lose Burns cross and it fell to Heatley. The Glenavon keeper managed to block Heatley’s shot but the ball broke to Whyte and he unleashed a rising shot from 10 yards out.
Eoin Bradley holds off a defender. Photo by Brian Bain
After Branniff failed to clear the ball from his own by-line in it fell to Owens. His shot was blocked but the rebound went straight to Heatley and he drilled a low shot past an unsighted Blayney.
Glenavon (4-4-2): Blayney, Marshall, Murphy, McKeown (Lindsay 62), Singleton, McGrory, McCabe (c) (O’Brien 78), Martyn, Caldwell (Sykes 78), Bradley, Braniff. Unused Subs: Patton, Kilmartin
Crusaders (4-3-3): O’Neill, Burns, Coates (c), Robinson (Hanley 87), McClean, O’Carroll (O’Flynn 82), Clarke, Adamson, Heatley, Owens, Whyte (Leeman 75). Unused Subs: Magowan, O’Hanlon.
Cautions: Robinson 62
Referee: Andrew Davey