Glenavon 3 – 2 Loughgall
Euro Electrix Mid-Ulster Senior Cup, Quarter-Final
Mourneview Park, Tuesday October 30th 2018
Match Report by Calum Jones
A much-changed Glenavon side came from behind to defeat Loughgall 3 – 2 in Tuesday night’s Mid-Ulster Cup quarter-final tie at Mourneview Park.
The Championship side led by two goals to nil at the break, with Peter Campbell and Keith Kearney getting on the scoresheet.
However, Glenavon fought back late in the second period to turn the game around, progressing to the semi-final with goals from Niall Grace, Stephen Donnelly and Jordan Jenkins.
The visitors started the brighter, and Marc McConnell fired an early warning sign on five minutes when he flashed a shot over the bar.
Loughgall took the lead just three minutes later. Midfielder Marcus Dallas played a ball over the top for winger Campbell. He cut inside and slotted his shot into the bottom corner.
Jenkins looked to hit back for Glenavon a couple of minutes later, but his effort was blocked, while Shea Geraghty could only slice the follow-up wide.
On 13 minutes Loughgall goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan did well to race off his line and smother the ball at the feet of Grace.
Jenkins went down in the box in the 20th minute, but referee Neil Robinson was uninterested. Immediately afterwards, Grace pulled the ball back to Donnelly, but the striker didn’t catch his shot right and Buchanan made an easy save.
Former Glenavon player Andrew Hoey cut inside from the right in the 22nd minute, but his shot went straight at James Taylor in the Glenavon goal.
The visitors almost scored a second goal on 24 minutes when McConnell’s shot deflected off Grace and struck the post.
However, the away side weren’t to be denied four minutes later when centre-back Kearney curled a left-footed free-kick into the net from 20 yards to make it 2 – 0.
At this stage the game was really threatening to get away from the unfamiliar Glenavon side. Hoey turned Clingan smartly on 38 minutes before firing a left-footed shot over the bar.
Still, the Lurgan Blues very nearly halved their deficit not once but twice in the closing minutes of the first period with two Connor McCloskey free-kicks. The winger’s first effort struck the post with Buchanan well beaten, while the second strike forced the goalkeeper to make a smart save.
Player-manager Gary Hamilton brought himself on as a substitute midway through the second half and it seemed to inject a bit of impetus into his team.
Glenavon’s first goal arrived in the 73rd minute. Loughgall failed to clear McCloskey’s corner and Grace was on hand to bundle the ball into the net.
The equaliser came just a minute later. Donnelly latched on to a Grace flick and steered the ball past Buchanan and into the far corner.
With time running out and the threat of extra-time looming, it was Jenkins who popped up with the winner with just two minutes left on the clock. Captain Clingan played McCloskey in down the right with a slide rule pass. The winger’s effort hit the post, but Jenkins reacted quickest to prod the ball home from close range and seal Glenavon’s place in the semi-finals.
Attention reverts to the Danske Bank Premiership on Friday night (November 2nd), when Glenavon will hope to continue their impressive winning run against Ballymena United. Kick-off at the Ballymena Showgrounds is 7.45pm.
Glenavon: 1. James Taylor, 2. Leighton Jamieson, 3. Gary Muir, 4. Daniel Larmour, 5. Ross Harland, 6. Niall Grace, 7. Conor McCloskey, 9. Jordan Jenkins, 10. Stephen Donnelly, 16. Sammy Clingan (C), 19. Shea Geraghty
Subs: 12. Gary Hamilton (for 19. Shea Geraghty, 68 mins); not used: 8. Ross Hunter, 11. Oisin Barr, 14. Jesse Carson, 15. Shane Adamson
Goals: 6. Niall Grace (72 mins), 10. Stephen Donnell (73 mins), 9. Jordan Jenkins (88 mins)
Yellow Cards: 16. Sammy Clingan (38 mins), 6. Niall Grace (54 mins)
Loughgall: 1. Gareth Buchanan, 2. Declan McVeigh, 3. Jamie Rea, 5. Mark Stewart, 6. Marcus Dallas, 7. Jordan Gibson, 8. Andrew Hoey, 9. Gary Liggett, 10. Marc McConnell, 11. Peter Campbell, 17. Keith Kearney
Subs: 14. Connor Mullen (for 9. Gary Liggett, 74 mins), 12. Kris Calvert (for 6. Marcus Dallas, 90+1 mins), 15. Craig Smith (for 17. Keith Kearney, 90+1 mins); not used: 4. Jordan Bell, 16. Ben Neill
Goals: 11. Peter Campbell (8 mins), 17. Keith Kearney (28 mins)
Yellow Cards: 6. Marcus Dallas (17 mins), 17. Keith Kearney (44 mins)
Referee: Neil Robinson