Result: Carrick Rgrs 0-0 Glenavon

Photo gallery by Maynard Collins

Three changes to the Glenavon starting lineup as Gary Hamilton looks to maintain a push on two fronts and no doubt he has one eye on next week’s Irish Cup Quarter Final. Mark Sykes, a scoring substitute in last week’s win against Ballinamallard, is in from the start and he’s joined in the starting lineup by Andy Kilmartin and Renato de Vecchi. Andrew Hall, Ciaran Martyn and Dave Elebert are omitted today.

Aaron Callaghan has five changes from Saturday’s League Cup Final, mostly enforced due to injuries.

Glenavon started the game with real intensity and created early chances for Sykes, Cooper and Bates. Bates was unlucky when his first effort was blocked in the 6 yard box and his follow up would surely have crossed the line with Neeson stranded had it not got stuck in the muddy goalmouth.

In the 36th minute Neeson made a smart save at his near post to keep out a shot by Greg Moorhouse but he was relieved three minutes later when a cross-shot by James Singleton whistled past his post.

Cooper then tested the Rangers keeper with a low shot across his area with the rebound not falling kindly for the Glenavon strike force.

Despite all of Glenavon’s pressure Rangers could have scored with their only chance of the first half in the 41st minute when the referee played an advantage when TJ Murray was fouled as he played the ball through and it took an excellent save by Johnny Tuffey to deny Tommy Elder from 14 yards.

Steven McCullough’s 51st minute dangerous free kick was touched over for a corner by Tuffey and six minutes later Elder scooped over from 10 yards.

In the 69th minute Sykes did well to keep the ball in on the Rangers byeline and fire over a low cross that Moorhouse attempted to flick in from a yard out but didn’t get enough on it.

Three minutes later a well-struck 25 yard free kick by Bates had Neeson scrambling across his line but the ball flew just wide of his right hand post.

With 15 minutes left on the clock Marshall broke down the right wing and crossed to the middle where the ball was just inches too far in front of Bates but Cooper collected the ball on the left and tested Neeson with a shot that he parried at his near post.

As Glenavon piled on the pressure in the final minutes and the hosts got everyone behind the ball Mark Clarke got a vital touch to nick the ball off Gary Hamilton’s toe and Cooper and Marshall had a succession of shots blocked by McNally and Taggart.

Carrick: Neeson, Foster (Smyth 48), McNally, McCullough, Taggart (c), Clarke, TJ Murray, Noble, McConnell (Salley 82), Elder (Mustapha 68), McVey. Subs: M Murray, Smyth, Morrow, Salley, Mustapha

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Marshall, Canning, Marron, Singleton, Renato (Hamilton 80), Sykes, Kilmartin, Cooper, Moorhouse, Bates (Gray 86). Subs: Hamilton, Neill, Lindsay, McGrory, Gray

Referee: Andrew Davey

Goal Feast for the Reserves

Ballinamallard U20 4-7 Glenavon Reserves (Saturday)

The game got off to a good free-flowing start by both teams with both keepers pulling of good saves. Glenavon, getting on top, opened the scoring on 17 minutes. After good work by Robinson and Gray they forced an own goal by a Mallards defender.

The second goal came shortly after, with a nice cross by Renato which was headed by Gray towards the top corner and the inrushing Neill made sure with a powerful header. Gray got himself on the score-line with the third goal midway through the half following a fine solo run.

Glenavon defended solidly throughout the first half with the midfield four also dictating the game. On the stroke of half time Jordan Jenkins got the goal of the game. After a flick on by Gray, JJ ran onto it to half volley into top corner from 20yds, giving the Mallards keeper no chance.

The half finished with the young Lurgan Blues leading 4-0 but just minutes into 2nd half the Mallards quickly got two goals back with two excellent finishes.

Glenavon’s fifth goal of the game followed more good work by Gray to set up Hill with another strong header to make it 5-2. Good football by the Mallards was finished off in fine style by the centre forward, to reduce the deficit to 5-3 but Glenavon then started to get well on top and goal number duly six arrived in the 75th minute. A neat ball from Young released O’Mahony who then went on a dazzling run past a few Mallards players before slipping it to Gray to cross to the far post for the incoming Robinson to head into the roof of the net.

The final Glenavon goal came in the 89th minute, JJ putting in a ‘Beckham’ like cross for Gray to volley high into the roof of the net.

Deep into injury time the Mallards forward tried a lob from 35 yards out and, as Taylor was about to clutch the ball out of the air, his ankle give way and the ball went into the net. Hopefully the big keeper’s injury is not as serious as it looked and he’ll be back in a few weeks.

The match was great entertainment for the large crowd and there were some excellent goals by both teams.

Glenavon Reserves: Taylor, O’Mahony, Neill, Young (c), McKeown (Harland 60), Kelly (McIvor 60), Renato, Hill, Robinson, Jenkins, Gray.

Thanks to Andy Mathieson for the match report.

Result: Glenavon 3-0 Ballinamallard Utd.

Four changes to the Glenavon starting lineup: Guy Bates for James Gray, Ciaran Martyn for Mark Sykes, Joel Cooper for Mark Patton and Andy Hall for Renato de Vecchi.

Glenavon took the lead in the 13th minute when the Mallards defence failed to deal with the danger after Greg Moorhouse’s shot rebounded off left back Colm McLaughlin and, in trying to clear the ball, Stuart Hutchinson inadvertently gave it straight to Andy Hall and he smashed it past Richard Brush from 12 yards.

Photo by Maynard Collins

In the 20th minute Mallard’s skipper James McKenna body-checked Greg Moorhouse and injured himself in the process. He was replaced by Ryan Morris, but not before being shown a yellow card for the foul. (We’ve been informed after the match that James McKenna was taken to Craigavon Hospital with a broken collar bone so best wishes to him for a speedy recovery).

Bates’ cheeky back heel on the right touch line released Rhys Marshall and he fired a low cross-shot into the six yard box which Brush saved at the feet of Moorhouse.

Bates then took the ball past Steve Feeney and squared a pass across the area for Hall but it was cut out by a last-ditch intervention by a defender.

Photo by Alan Weir

With the score at 1-0 Johnny Tuffey was called upon to make a superb save to keep out a header by Steve Feeney from a 75th minute corner by substitute Niall Owens.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Mark Sykes doubled the lead five minutes from time after Ciaran Martyn unselfishly squared the ball to leave him with a tap in after Brush could only parry a fierce shot by Moorhouse.

The striker scored the goal of the night in stoppage time to make it 3-0, racing clear down the right onto a ball from Guy Bates, before outpacing Jay McCartney and slotting a shot under the Mallard’s keeper.

Bates was impressive throughout, showing all his tricks as he made his 100th start for Glenavon.

Gary Hamilton will be pleased with the all-round performance, with every player working hard and his team getting the goals and result that their efforts deserved.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Photo by Alan Weir

Goals: Hall 13, Sykes 85, Moorhouse 90+1

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Canning, Elebert, Marron, Singleton, Hall, Marshall, Martyn, Cooper, Bates, Moorhouse Subs: Kilmartin, Sykes (Cooper 79), Gray, Renato, Hamilton (Hall 84)

Ballinamallard: Brush, Hutchinson, McKenna (c), Feeney, McLaughlin, Mayse, Lafferty, McGinty, McCartney, McIlwaine, Elliott. Subs: Taheny, Owens (Elliott 64), Morris (McKenna 20), Curran (Mayse 46), McGrath (GK)

Aaron Canning won the Man of the Match award. Photo by Alan Weir

Result: Glentoran 0-0 Glenavon

Action from The Oval by Maynard Collins.

Gary Hamilton keeps faith with the line-up that started last week’s Irish Cup game at Armagh City.

Glenavon almost got off to the ideal start after just three minutes when Rhys Marshall played the ball out to Renato and he skipped past a challenge before playing the ball into the feet of James Gray. He laid it off to Greg Moorhouse who saw his rising shot rebound off the underside of the bar.

In the 28th minute a cross from the right by Aaron Canning broke for Renato and his turn and shot was blocked by Jay Magee.

A minute later the hosts went close when Curtis Allen’s front post header from a Chris Lavery corner rebounded off the other post.

Great save by Elliott Morris to tip Ciaran Martyn’s point blank header over the bar from a left wing cross by Rhys Marshall with 77 minutes on the clock.

With two minutes remaining Johnny Tuffey made a superb save, rushing out and spreading himself to block a shot by Stephen Gordon after a high ball had been held up in the strong wind and dropped kindly for the Glens midfielder.

Mark Sykes caught everybody napping with a 90th minute free kick from the left edge of the Glens box as he lifted it over the head of Morris only to see it come back off the bar.

The game ended in the 3rd draw between these sides this season as the strong wind played a big part in reducing the quality of the match but Glenavon always looked the more likely to take the three points.

Glentoran: Morris, Ferrin, Magee, Addis, Redman, Gordon, McAlorum, Kane, Lavery, Smith, Allen. Subs: Novo, Foley, Nelson (GK), Harmon (Smith 66), Caldwell

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Canning, Marron, Elebert, Singleton, Renato, Sykes, Marshall, Patton, Moorhouse, Gray. Subs: Lindsay, Kilmartin, Cooper (Patton 56), Martyn (Renato 68), Bates (Gray 68).

Referee: Raymond Hetherington

‘JJ’ Hat-trick in Reserves Win

Teenage striker Jordan ‘JJ’ Jenkins scored a hat trick in last night’s 3-0 win for Glenavon Reserves against Glentoran II’s in the Premiership Development League.

He grabbed his opener in the first half when he was first to react after the Glens keeper could only parry a fierce shot from Guy Bates.

His second came just after half time when he was played in by a good ball from winger Jack Sharvin and slipped the ball beyond the keeper from inside the box.

His hat-trick goal came with about 20 minutes to go as Glenavon broke away and JJ and Bates played three or four one-twos with each other before JJ finished the move with aplomb.

Team: James Taylor, Jack O’Mahoney, Luke Fisher, Conal Young, Ross Harlan, Jack Sharvin, Robbie Norton, Gary Hamilton, Renato de Vecchi, Guy Bates, Jordan Jenkins. Subs (75 mins): Reece Kelly, Harry Robinson and Jack McIvor for Jenkins, Hamilton and Renato

Thanks to Andy Mathieson for the match report.