Five changes for Glenavon, including one enforced by the suspension of Conor Dillon. Out are James McGrath, Andy Kilmartin, Dillon, Martyn, Lindsay. In come Alan Blaney, Andy McGrory, McCabe, Marshall, McNally.
A disastrous start for Glenavon as Danny Hughes outpaced Paddy McNally before delivering a low cross that Ruairi Devlin turned in from 6 yards to give the visitors the lead inside two minutes.
McNally had a header cleared off the line from Kyle Neill’s corner in the 12th minute with some of the Glenavon players claiming it had crossed the line.
Gary Hamilton equalised in the 17th minute after an excellent ball down the right by Kevin Braniff had released McGrory and he slid the ball to the boss leaving him with a simple finish.
A slip by Gareth McKeown allowed Johnny Breen in and he made no mistake with a left foot shot into the bottom corner from just inside the box to restore the visitors lead in the 24th minute.
Breen really should have extended the visitor’s lead in the 29th minute when he was played in by a nicely weighted through ball by Padraig Smith and, with Rhys Marshall losing his footing as he turned in the box, he only had Blaney to beat but he contrived to put his shot wide of the post.
Seven minutes into the second half Braniff managed to scoop the ball over the bat from about two yards after Kyle Neill got a touch to Gary Hamilton’s flick on from a long throw by McKeown.
Braniff made amends for that miss when he equalised in the 61st minute with a sublime free kick from 20 yards, reminiscent of his winning goal against Linfield three weeks ago. John Boyle had fouled McCabe just outside the box and Braniff superbly curled the free kick into the top corner.
Less than a minute later Blaney had to make a superb double save to twice deny goal scorer Breen who then put a third follow up shot across the goal and wide of the far post.
Hamilton showed all his class with a great touch and a measured ball out to substitute Tony McNamee who saw his cross-shot palmed away by Martin Marron as Braniff and McGrory both came close to a touch as the ball flashed across the goalmouth.
Glenavon’s two youngsters combined to grab the winning goal four minutes from time. McKeown’s cross was nodded on by Darren Forsyth and when James Singleton hooked the ball back it deflected in the air off a defender and dropped at the far post and Rhys Marshall headed it goal wards with Singleton applying the finishing touch.
Town’s Mark Hughes was sent off in stoppage time by Referee Raymond Crangle when he picked up a second caution for a rash challenge on Shane McCabe in front of the Glenavon dugout. He had been earlier cautioned for dissent in the aftermath of Braniff’s equaliser.
Glenavon: Blaney, Marshall, McNally, McKeown, Singleton, Caldwell, McCabe (C), Neill (McNamee 65), Hamilton (Forsyth 78), Braniff. Subs not used: McCallion, Murphy, Kilmartin
Warrenpoint Town: Marron, Cowan, McVeigh, D Hughes, Stephen McCabe (Grant 80), Smith (Bagnall 46), M Hughes, Moan, Boyle, Devlin (King 63), Breen. Subs not used: Gargan, Haveron.
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)
It’s back to Danske Bank Premiership action on Friday night (7:45pm kick off) at Mourneview Park with the visit of Warrenpoint Town heralding the start of the second phase of games.
After the completion of the first 11 games last season Glenavon had accumulated 20 points and was sitting in second spot, three points behind the then leaders Linfield. At the moment Gary Hamilton’s side are three points worse off than last season and following two successive league defeats, have dropped to 7th place. Warrenpoint’s record is identical in both the current and last season, with 8 points from their 11 games. Although Barry Gray’s side have scored the second lowest number of goals in the league (9), last week’s 2-0 win against Ballinamallard and a creditable 2-2 draw the previous week at Shamrock Park, a game in which they lead 2-0, has seen Town move off the foot of the table. “We’ve never had it easy against them but then nobody’s found it easy against them, and it took Portadown, one of the best teams in the league at the minute, to the 83rd minute to get an equaliser,” Paul Millar told us as he looked ahead to Friday’s game.
Conor Dillon misses Friday’s game after he was sent off in Tuesday’s League Cup defeat and Shane McCabe has not recovered from a calf strain.
The players from Glenavon’s Academy will be doing a sponsored walk around the pitch ahead of kick-off. Check out this page for the latest Academy news.
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Alan Blaney was taken ill with severe stomach pains before the match so James McGrath takes over the goalkeeper’s shirt. Rhys Marshall returns to the starting lineup at the expense of Gareth McKeown and Eoin Bradley replaces Darren Forsyth who is on the bench.
Jordan Stewart popped up at the near post to touch in a low cross fro David Scullion in the 13th minute.
Andy McGrory had gone close with a low shot in the second minute but after that its been all Glentoran.
Shane McCabe was forced to come off limping after only 16 minutes with Ciaran Martyn replacing him.
Eoin Bradley, who had earlier ludicrously been booked for backing in to Willie Garrett, had the ball in the net in the 29th minute after a goal mouth scramble but it was rightly ruled out for offside. Ironically the Glentoran centre half escaped with a talking to after scything down Bradley minutes later.
McGrath had to be at his best to turn Curtis Allen’s close range shot over the bar in the 37th minute.
Four minutes into the second half Bradley ran onto Caldwell’s through ball but he couldn’t quite shrug off Johnny Addis and his shot went just wide of Elliott Morris’ left hand post.
Conor Dillon forced the ball over the line after Morris misjudged Kyle Neill’s corner and there was a possible hand ball on the line followed by an almighty scramble before the Glenavon defender made sure the ball had crossed the line.
Scullion profited from a fortunate deflection that saw Stewart’s shot blocked by McGrath but the ball ran for the former Glenavon winger and, despite a desperate attempt at a block by Singleton, the ball trundled over the line.
Deep into stoppage time McGrory’s drive took a nick off a defender that sent it over the bar with the referee blowing the full time whistle as Glentoran cleared the resulting corner.
There was controversy after the game with Glenavon players and officials unhappy after it appeared that referee Mervyn Smyth had ‘celebrated’ with a verbal ‘yes!’ and a clear gesture with his hands after Scullion had netted.