Ian Morris gets his first stat for Glenavon after making his debut last week as a subsitute at Solitude. A defensive injury crisis has left Gary Hamilton with limited options. Morris has slotted in at left back with Rhys Marshall reverting to the right back position.
It’s looking like another open game between these two sides. Eoin Bradley had the first chance after Kevin Braniff played a ball over the top for Andy Hall and he picked out the striker with a pass across the box. Bradley let loose with a right foot shot that Sean O’Neill parried, Braniff firing the rebound just wide from 25 yards.
On 17 minutes following a long BJ Burns throw in Jordan Owens lifted a shot over the bar from 10 yards after Paul Heatley’s miskick fell kindly for the big striker. A minute later Hall’s cross was just in too far in front of Joel Cooper as he slid in at the far post.
In the 28th minute Cooper raced down the centre with the ball with Braniff to his left and Bradley to his right. He rolled the ball to the right and Bradley unleashed another right foot shot which O’Neill saved with his boot, the ball spinning out for a corner.
Morris lasted only 33 minutes on his MVP debut before limping off to be replaced by Mark Patton at left back.
Owens found himself free about 8 yards out when he powered in a header from a Gavin Whyte free kick in the 56th minute.
Bradley had another chance in the 62nd minute when he exchanged passes with Cooper but pressure from two defenders ended with his shot from 14 yards ending up going out for a goal kick.
The big Crusaders striker hit the post with a shot in the 80th minute and Jonny Tuffey made a super save to turn Whytre’s shot round the post after Forsythe had set him up two minutes later.
Three minutes from the end Braniff volleyed a weak clearance from a long Conor Dillon throw into the Crues box only to see it rebound off the chest of O’Neill, the ball not falling for the in rushing Cooper.
In stoppage time Declan O’Brien rose at the far post to head a Braniff cross back across the goal but it went narrowly wide of the foot of the post.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marshall, Dillon, Lindsay, Morris, Hall, Kiilmartin, Martyn (c), Cooper, Braniff, Bradley. Subs: Patton, O’Brien, Hamilton, Delaney, McGrath (GK)
Crusaders: O’Neill, Burns, Magowan, Coates (c), McClean, Whyte, Snoddy, Caddell, Mitchell, Heatley, Owens. Subs: McKibbin (GK), Clarke, Carvill, O’Carroll, Forsythe