Result: Cliftonville 1-3 Glenavon

Five changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday night’s defeat at Windsor Park: Jordan Jenkins and Guy Bates get the nod up front as Gary Hamilton searches for a solution to Glenavon’s lack of goals; Kyle Neill, Simon Kelly and Chris Turner also start with Greg Moorhouse, Caolan Marron, James Gray dropping to the bench. Joel Cooper and Aaron Canning are out after picking up knocks against Linfield.

Just one change to the Reds team that lost 4-1 to Ballymena on Tuesday, Aaron Donnelly replacing Martin Donnelly.

28: 0-1 Andy Hall scores with a header from Singleton’s cross

60: 0-2 Hall capitalises on a bad mistake by Reds keeper Burke

65: 1-2 Marty Donnelly scores direct from a 20 yard free kick.

83: 1-3 Andy McGrory volleys in after his free kick rebounds back to him off the wall

Andy Hall rises to meet James Singleton’s cross to make it 1-0 to Glenavon. Photo by Maynard Collins

Photo by Maynard Collins

Three minutes after Stephen Garrett broke clear and drew a good save from Johnny Tuffey, Andy Hall’s downwards header from James Singleton’s cross bounced up off the synthetic surface and over the outstretched arms of keeper Peter Burke to give Glenavon a 28th minute lead.

Five minutes later and Jonny Tuffey was called into action to make a superb tip-over save to deny Stephen Garrett’s well-struck shot from the left side of the box. The Glenavon keeper had to make another good save to keep out a low drive from Levi Ives in the 36th minute.

It was almost 2-0 in the 39th minute. Turner won the ball 35 yards out and played a great pass into Bates on the left of the Reds box. His low shot was saved by Burke but the rebound went to Jenkins and his shot from 12 yards was cleared off the line by Jamie McGovern.

Jordan Jenkins challeneges for a high ball. Photo by Maynard Collins

In first half stoppage time it looked like Bates had been bundled over two yards out as he looked favourite to tap in from a low Jenkins’ cross but the referee ignored his claims for a penalty.

It was 2-0 to the Lurgan Blues on the hour mark when a terrible mistake by Burke saw Hall nip in to grab his second of the match. The Reds keeper had come out of his area to clear a through ball  but he miskicked horribly and Hall kept his head to slot the ball into the empty net from the right corner of the box.

Andy Hall slots in goal number 2. Photo by Maynard Collins

Marty Donnelly pulled a goal back from a free kick just outside the area just five minutes later. Donnelly then rattled the bar from a back post volley off a cross by Ives in the 69th minute.

A goal by Andy McGrory seven minutes from time sealed the win for Glenavon after his free kick came back to him off the wall and he volleyed his follow-up shot beyond the reach of Burke.

Cliftonville: Burke, McGovern (c), Ives, Bonner, Curran, Garrett, Cosgrove, A Donnelly (M Donnelly 46), Finnegan (Lavery 61), Nelson, J Donnelly (Reynolds 73). Subs: Dunne, M Donnelly, Seydak, Lavery, Reynolds.

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Neill, Kelly (Marron 46), Kilmartin, Hall, Doyle, McGrory, Turner (Norton 46), Singleton, Bates, Jenkins (Moorhouse 78) Subs: Marron, Moorhouse, Norton, Gray, Renato

Referee: Lee Tavinder

Preview: Cliftonville v Glenavon

Glenavon finishes the league campaign with the second of three trips to Belfast. Last Tuesday night saw the Lurgan Blues lose 3-0 to Linfield at Windsor Park and tomorrow it’s off to Solitude with the campaign finishing against the Champions at Seaview next Saturday.

Chris Turner is recovered from the injury he picked up in the 3-0 win against Ballymena United. Photo by Maynard Collins

Rhys Marshall completes his two game ban tomorrow but Gary Hamilton’s selection choices are still limited by injuries and potential bans for Mark Sykes and David Elebert who are both on 9 cautions and Ciaran Martyn who is on four cautions so a further booking for any of those three would rule them out of the play-off games. “On Tuesday night I literally only had 16 players available to me,” Gary explained. “Simon Kelly and Kris Lindsay were both injured from Saturday, Kyle Neill was at his brother’s wedding and I couldn’t risk the boys who are one booking away from a suspension.

“Obviously I was disappointed with the result the other night but for 20 minutes we were well in it and, looking back at the highlights, we should have had a penalty, the decision didn’t go our way, then we conceded a goal from a mistake which was so uncharacteristic of James. That gave Linfield the momentum and confidence that they needed and then we made another mistake a couple of minutes later and it’s 2-0 and unfortunately our heads went down.

“We played the players we had available but unfortunately it didn’t work out but the other night does show the importance of those players who are running the risk of suspension and injury and how much they’re needed. The last thing we can do is risk putting all these players out of the two important (play-off) games. I share the fans’ frustrations in terms of the result but unfortunately we’re at the stage of the season when there’s nothing we can do about it and needs must at the end of the day in terms of what we’re doing and trying to do.”

Aaron Canning and Joel Cooper join the injury list, the latter as a result of a poor challenge by Paul Smyth that somehow wasn’t punished by a red card on Tuesday night. There is some good news though with Simon Kelly and Chris Turner back from injury.

Glenavon and Cliftonville have met four times so far this season, three times in the league and once in the quarter final of the League Cup. Glenavon have the slight advantage with two wins and a draw; the one defeat was the only one of those four games at Solitude.

Supporters are reminded to check the important advice published yesterday.

Result: Linfield 3-0 Glenavon

Gary Hamilton makes six changes to the team that started Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Coleraine. With Rhys Marshall starting his two-game suspension, Aaron Canning comes back but starts in midfield with Andy McGrory at left back in the defence along with Caolan Marron and Andrew Doyle. They join left back James Singleton who scored the equaliser against the Bannsiders. Joel Cooper and Andrew Hall provide the width and Greg Moorhouse starts up front in place of Jordan Jenkins who drops to the bench.

Highlights and Managers’ reactions from BBC Sport NI

Photos by Maynard Collins.

28: 1-0 Burns scores from the penalty spot

33: 2-0 Haughey rises to power Quinn’s cross beyond Tuffey

44: 3-0 Smyth races on to Waterworth’s flick and fires the hosts into a 3-0 halftime lead.

Glenavon were more than holding their own until the 28th minute when Singleton’s attempted back pass went straight to Andy Waterworth and Jonny Tuffey was adjudged to have fouled the striker as he came out to cut down the angle. Aaron Burns took the spot kick and put the home side ahead in the 28th minute.

Two minutes earlier Glenavon were asking for a penalty as Paul Smyth was all over the back of Singleton as he tried to get to a ball to the far post following a corner.

Five minutes later former Glenavon defender Mark Haughey doubled the lead with a bullet header after Niall Quinn crossed to the front post after his previous corner had only been cleared back to him.

Paul Smyth made it 3-0 in the 44th minute with an assured finish as he ran onto a flick-on by Waterworth from a free kikck out by Roy Carroll.

There were no further goals in the second half but Tuffey made a great save with his boot to deny Waterworth a goal in the 64th minute and James Gray did have a header cleared off the line by Clarke from McGrory’s corner. Doyle came to Glenavon’s rescue late on when he also cleared off the line after Tuffey half-stopped Waterworth’s close range effort. Tuffey then beat away Casement’s swerving follow-up shot.

Linfield: Carroll, Haughey (Stafford 51), Callacher, Casement, Quinn, Lowry, Burns (Millar 69), Clarke, Mulgrew (c) (Ward 46), Smyth, Waterworth. Subs: Stafford, Millar, Ward, Gaynor, Strain

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Canning, Marron, Doyle, Singleton, Hall (Norton 46), Kilmartin Patton 66), McGrory, Cooper, Gray, Moorhouse (Jenkins 66). Subs: Patton, Bates, Jenkins, Norton, Renato

Referee: Steven Taylor

Result: Coleraine 1-1 Glenavon

Just the one change for Glenavon, Ciaran Martyn coming in for Chris Turner who isn’t risked after coming off last week with a tight hamstring.

Glenavon off to a good start with Singleton and Gray drawing saves from Chris Johns inside the first 10 minutes. The first effort wouldn’t have counted as the offside flag went up but nevertheless it was a great  save from the Bannsiders keeper.

There was a lengthy stoppage for an injury to Brad Lyons who eventually had to be stretchered off, Ian Parkhill replacing him in the 14th minute.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Johns made an even better save when he reacted quickly to deny Rhys Marshall from a close range header from an Andy McGrory corner in the 18th minute.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Mark Patton had a great chance to open the scoring in the 57th minute when he raced clear but fired high over the bar from inside the box.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Subsitute Darren McCauley volleyed in at the back post to put the home side ahead in the 70th minute as he ran onto Ian Parkhill’s cross. That was harsh on Glenavon who had continued to carve out the best chances.

Gary Hamilton went for broke, bringing on Renato for Andy Kilmartin and the Brazilian was to have a hand in Glenavon’s late equaliser.

Photo by Maynard Collins

With Glenavon pressing for that equaliser Coleraine had a couple of chances to seal the three points as they broke, in one case with a four-on-one situation, but Parkhill chose the wrong option on both occasions.

James Singleton deservedly equalised with an 89th minute header from a cross to the far post by Greg Moorhouse after Renato had released him on the right.

Photo by Maynard Collins

‘Singy’ celebrates. Photo by Maynard Collins

Glenavon went for the win and Rhys Marshall thought he had won it in stoppage time with a volley from 12 yards as he latched onto the ball as Coleraine struggled to clear McGrory’s corner but Chris Johns pulled off an amazing save to turn his effort round the post. And that was that, as the referee blew the whistle before Glenavon could take the corner.

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Harkin, Douglas, McLaughlin (McCauley 58), Kee (c) (McCafferty 68), McConaghie, Lyons (Parkhill 14), McGonigle, Bradley. Subs: McCauley, McCafferty, Parkhill, Edgar, Allan.

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Kelly, Lindsay, Kilmartin (Renato 76), Marshall, Patton (Cooper 64), McGrory, Martyn, Singleton, Jenkins (Moorhouse 68), Gray. Subs: Neill, Cooper, Doyle, Moorhouse, Renato

Referee: Tim Marshall

Easter Double Bill

Saturday’s trip to 3rd-placed Coleraine is the first of a tough Easter double-bill of away games for Glenavon, with Gary Hamilton’s side also taking on the team in second spot, Linfield, at Windsor Park on Easter Tuesday (7:45pm kick off).

Tomorrow’s opponents have opened up a 5 point lead on their nearest rivals for that coveted 3rd place and, of course, also have an Irish Cup final with Linfield to look forward to, having overcome holders Glenavon in the semifinal. In many ways the Bannsiders situation mirrors that of Glenavon last season when the Lurgan Blues secured third place and also went on to defeat Linfield in the cup final.

Gary Hamilton’s thoughts are focused on preparing his squad for the European play-offs which are his side’s only remaining route to Europe for next season.

“The players that started last week were the ones that needed games so it’ll be a similar line-up tomorrow, especially with the result. Chris Turner will be missing as he has a tight hamstring that forced him off last week, and we don’t want to take any risks with him. The main importance for us is the play-off semifinal so we have to make sure they’re right for that. Ciaran Martyn comes back into contention there and Renato will come onto the bench and Doyler (Andrew Doyle) will be back in the squad.

“We have to be careful with suspensions as Mark Sykes and Dave Elebert are on 9 bookings so we have to manage that as we don’t want to lose them for the play-offs.”

Along with Coleraine, Tuesday’s opponents Linfield are the top two teams as far as form is concerned and last weekend’s win for David Healy’s side over Crusaders has narrowed the gap to the leaders to just a single point. It goes without saying that he will be going all-out for a win against Glenavon to keep the pressure on the league leaders.

“These are the games you want to be playing in at this stage of the season as players. They’re big games, unfortunately not for us this season, but for the opposition. There’ll be a decent crowd at both games and a decent atmosphere as well and a chance for the players to show their quality, which they did last week. We don’t want to be pushovers for anybody; we want to go out and get results, no matter who you play, and that’s what our aim is.”

Rhys Marshall starts a two-game suspension from Monday so he is unavailable for the Linfield game after picking up his 10th booking of the season against Ballymena last weekend. Teenage striker Jordan Jenkins who scored two goals last Saturday on his first full start will be looking forward to having a run in the first team after that impressive performance against the Sky Blues.

“He was exceptional and I was really, really pleased with him; he’s a finisher and its up to him what level he wants to play at. That’s two games now at our level and he’s scored goals in both. He’s proved that his desire and attitude is right and he can play at this level. Whatever level he finds himself at, Jordan Jenkins will score goals. He just reminded me so much of Mark Farren,” Gary concluded. High praise indeed!

Rhys Marshall celebrates with Jordan Jenkins after the teenager opened the scoring against Ballymena United. Photo by Brian Bain.