Preview: Glentoran v Glenavon

It’s back to league action tomorrow as Glenavon head to The Oval to take on Glentoran in Danske Bank Premiership match number 28. The two previous meetings between the sides this season have ended in draws, 1-1 at Mourneview in November and 2-2 at The Oval on our last visit back in September.

Joel Cooper scored in both those games including a spectacular moment of individual brilliance in the Oval game as Glenavon came back to take the lead after going a goal down in the 20th minute. He also put Glenavon ahead in the home fixture before former Lurgan Blues defender Jay Magee equalised with 25 minutes to go.

Eoin Bradley and Joel Cooper celebrate after Cooper gave Glenavon the lead at Mourneview Park. Photo by Alan Weir

“They’ve been tight games this season especially the one at The Oval when we were leading until late on and then we could have had a penalty at the end but we ended up drawing it. That’s probably been the story of our season when in a lot games we’ve been in good positions and we haven’t seen it out or a refereeing decision has also maybe cost us as well,” Gary told us.

“The Oval is a difficult place to go; no matter where Glentoran are sitting in the league it’s always a difficult game. They’ve struggled against the lower sides this season but they’ve always matched the bigger teams. It’s been a similar story for ourselves this season. Ok, we maybe haven’t been getting beaten by many of the lower sides but we’ve drawn a lot of games against them.

“Tomorrow we’re going there and our aim is to try and win the game. We have the ability to win the game, we know that, but it’s how we turn up and how we perform and we have to make sure we’re right, mentally first and foremost and we’re up for it because they are one of the teams in and around us that could maybe replace us in that sixth position and that’s something we don’t want. We want to make sure we’re in the top six, minimum, and, if we can, we would like to finish a bit further up than that. Whether that’s possible or not remains to be seen but we want to win as many games as possible.

“The other side of the coin is that there’s places up for grabs in the Irish Cup quarter final against our derby rivals Portadown. It’s important when they get their chance in the team that their perfomances are high and they do well enough to keep the shirt.  If they don’t, come the Portadown game, they might not be in the team. That’s a wee carrot dangling in front of them and the players have to make sure they get that carrot and they’re in the team come the Portadown game. They only way they can do that between now and then is by winning games because I don’t change a winning team.

“If the team that plays tomorrow wins and continues to win until the Portadown game, that’ll be the same team in the Portadown match.”

Match Officials

Referee Assistant 1 Assistant 2 4th Official
Raymond Hetherington  Adrian Sobieski  Kristian Hanna  Raymond Crangle 

Result: Glenavon 0-1 Crusaders

New signing Renato de Vecchi gets a place on the bench, Kris Lindsay replaces Simon Kelly and Aaron Canning comes in for the suspended James Singleton. Rhys Marshall starts at left back with Canning at right back.

Photo gallery from today’s match by Alan Weir, Brian Bain and Maynard Collins.

Declan Caddell put the league leaders ahead after 13 minutes, getting on the end of a superb cross-field pass by David Cushley before slotting a shot beyond Johnny Tuffey from inside the box. The ball just cleared Marshall’s attempt to get his head on it, the bright sun perhaps a factor.

Caddell had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside in the 37th minute.

Glenavon almost drew level in first half stoppage time. Canning’s free kick from the half-way line was headed onto the bar by Kris Lindsay and James Gray then headed the rebound onto the bar from four yards before the ball was cleared and Referee Crangle blew the half time whistle.

Renato replaced Andy Kilmartin in the 74th miute and seconds later he won a free kick and a booking for Caddell after he was hacked down as he took off down the right wing.

Six minutes of stoppage time was added and in the final minute Glenavon forced a corner, Tuffey coming up but the Crusaders defence held firm and Mr Crangle blew the full time whistle.

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Marshall, Lindsay, Marron, Canning, Sykes, Kilmartin, Martyn, Cooper, Gray, Moorhouse. Subs: Hamilton, Patton (Cooper 60), Elebert, Bates (Gray 69), Renato (Kilmartin 74)

Crusaders: O’Neill (c), Burns, Beverland, Keane, McLean, Cushley, Carvill, Caddell, Heatley, Forsythe, Owens. Subs: Lowry (Cushley 69), Mitchell, Dougherty (GK), Suarez (Caddell 78), Clarke.

Referee: Raymond Crangle

Preview: Glenavon v Crusaders

The last time these two met at Mourneview Park Crusaders managed to go away with a point after coming back from 3-1 down with a late goal by Jordan Owens securing a 3-3 draw for the Champions.

David Elebert strikes his second goal to put Glenavon 3-1 up. Photo by Maynard Collins

Two goals by Dave Elebert and one from Rhys Marshall had cancelled out an early opener from Paul Heatley who also grabbed a second shortly after Elebert had made it 3-1 to the Lurgan Blues. “It was a really good game of football, entertaining from both teams,” Gary Hamilton recalled. “It’s going to be difficult, we always know that. Crusaders have won the league the last two seasons because they’ve been the best team and this season they’re sitting top of the league, seven points clear, because they’re the best team.

“The one thing we’ve done okay this year is we’ve competed in most matches against them so we need to go out with the same attitude tomorrow, the same desire and  hunger and compete the same way we have done in other matches and hopefully we can manage to get a result. That’s the aim is going into every game and hopefully we can get the slice of luck and decisions will go for us and we’ll get a win. That would be nice but we know it’s going to be a difficult game.”

James Singleton is suspended following his red card in last Saturday’s Mid-Ulster derby win over Portadown. Andy McGrory injured ankle ligaments during the week so also misses the game tomorrow, joining Kyle Neill, Andy Hall and Andrew Doyle on the injury list. The latter two are making good progress following operations on ankle and knee respectively.

International clearance has come through this morning for new signing Renato de Vecchi so he’s likely to feature in the squad tomorrow. “In training he looks a talent and he looks like he will excite people,” Gary said, “but of course it’s what happens on the pitch that counts. Some players take a while to adjust while others can hit the ground running. His pace is impressive and that’s a big thing in any league but especially in this league. If we can get the best out of him, getting him running at people,  that will hopefully add goals to our tally.”

Gary also paid tribute to Declan O’Brien who has joined Carrick Rangers this week. “I wish Fabio all the best and I’d like to thank him for the service he has given us over the last couple of years. He’s been a joy to work with and his attitude was always first class and whenever he was called upon he always did a job for us and never let us down and he scored a lot of goals. Remembering back to the semi-final of the Irish Cup last season, that was probably one of his best moments for us.

“He goes with our blessing and it’s best for both parties at this moment – obviously he’s not been getting a lot of game time with ourselves and it releases a bit of budget for us and by the same token it gives him the opportunity to go and get first team football and get another year on his contract. He’s a model pro and everything I expected him to be when I signed him.”

Charity Collection

Our 2016/17 charity partner Angel Wishes will be undertaking a charity collection at the game and we would ask all supporters to please give generously.

Match Officials

Referee Assistant 1 Assistant 2 4th Official
Raymond Crangle Richard Storey David Anderson Raymond Hetherington

Matchday Programme

In this week’s programme, Gary Hamilton says Andrew Mitchell has the potential to become a legend! Get your copy for £2.

Our Sponsors

Match Sponsor Ball Sponsor Man of the Match Sponsor
Glenavon Social Club Tommy Anderson Eddy Kerr

Result: Portadown 1-2 Glenavon

Photos by Maynard Collins and Alan Weir.

8: 0-1 James Gray taps in as Greg Moorhouse squares the ball to him in the box from a long pass over the top of the Ports defence by Rhys Marshall.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Photo by Alan Weir

22: 0-2 Moorhouse gets on the score-sheet with a tap in at the near post after Gray crossed to Joel Cooper on the right of the box and he cut it back for the striker.

Photo by Alan Weir

30: Great save by Johnny Tuffey to push a fierce shot by Shea McGerrigan round the post after Brendan Shannon had found his teammate with an accurate cross.

38: Aaron Canning replaces Andy Kilmartin

51: James Singleton sent off after conceding a penalty as he was adjudged to have fouled Adam Foley who had run into the box onto McGerrigan’s pass.

Photo by Alan Weir

51: 1-2 Niall Henderson puts the spot kick down the middle, sending Tuffey the wrong way.

63: Ports defender Alan Byrne makes a vital tackle in his own penalty area to prevent Gray from getting a shot away after a great run by Cooper with Ciaran Martyn laying the ball off to Gray.

64: Brendan Shannon shown a yellow card. He was perhaps fortunate not to see red as he left the ground with a two-footed lunge.

72: Foley sends a low shot across the Glenavon goal mouth and narrowly misses the far post.

75: Callum Ferris replaces Tiarnan Mulvenna

78: Foley’s low cross into the six yard area is met be Aaron Haire but Tuffey saves and manages to block the follow up shot by Zac Wilson. Glenavon break and Gray lays the ball off to Marshall who runs the length of the pitch, skipping past three challenges,  before playing a one-two with Moorhouse on the edge of the Ports area. His shot cannons down off the underside of the bar and is headed out for a corner. That would have been some goal!

81: Moorhouse skips past Byrne and races into the box. His shot beats McCaughey but rebounds back off the foot of the upright.

81: Gary Hamilton replaces James Gray

Photo by Maynard Collins

86: Marcio Soares replaces Aaron Haire

90+3: Jaimie Gardiner replaces Niall Henderson

Preview: Portadown v Glenavon

It seems like no time since the last Mid-Ulster derby and of course it’s less than four weeks ago that the sides drew 2-2 on the pitch with Glenavon coming from 2-0 behind thanks to goals from Ciaran Martyn and a last minute equaliser from Mark Sykes. That result has been set aside by the IFA and Portadown awarded a 3-0 win due to an issue over the eligibility of David Elebert, a decision which Glenavon is appealing.

Ports keeper Chris McGaughey dives in vain as Mark Sykes equaliser hits the back of the net. Photo by Alan Weir

“In the last game (on Boxing Day), for a large part of the game I felt we let ourselves and the supporters down in the way we performed but at the end of it we showed great character to come back and get a draw. The first 60 or 75 minutes was unacceptable and you can’t play like that in a derby game,” Gary Hamilton told us this afternoon.

“Hopefully tomorrow the boys will go out and they’ll know what Portadown are all about. They’ll be in your face and not give you time on the ball and they’ll hit you on the counterattack and we have to be prepared for that and make sure we’re mentally right and we’re up to the fight. If we are, hopefully we can create more chances than we have been doing and start punishing teams and killing teams off like we were last year.

“If you look at our stats this year we’ve 11 draws so it’s fine lines between winning and losing. We’re one goal away in 11 games from winning and on the other side of the coin we’re one goal away from losing games. The pleasing thing is if we start scoring goals and getting somebody to find the back of the net then our fortunes will turn and we’ll start picking up points. It’s alright talking about it but we have to start doing it and producing it on the pitch.”

Match Officials

Referee Assistant 1 Assistant 1 4th Official
Ian McNabb David Anderson Adrian Sobieski Steven Taylor