Glenavon finally won a game against Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown in today’s JJB Sports Irish Cup 5th Round tie. Both sides were depleted by injuries and suspensions with Shane McCabe and Chris Ramsey banned for Portadown and Ciaran Doherty serving a suspension for the home side. Matthew Tipton and Sean Mackle were also missing for Ronnie McFall’s side through injury as were Glenavon’s Kris Lindsay and Mark Turkington but Niall Henderson and Jonny Magee had recovered and made the starting line-up with Conor Hagan starting from the bench after his groin injury. Cameron Grieve replaced Turkington at left back and new loan signing Kyle Cherry made his Glenavon debut as he replaced Doherty in central midfield.
The visitors dominated the first half and as early as the first minute Davy O’Hare had to react smartly to make a great save to deny Neil McCafferty’s turn and shot. Brian Gartland then rose to meet Jamie Tomelty’s corner and forced another save from O’Hare as he tipped the big defender’s header over the bar. Matthew Paget then hit the side netting with an 8th minute header from another Tomelty cross.
In the 34th minute Shannon failed to clear a ball into the Glenavon box and the ball broke to give Redman a shooting chance but the Glenavon right back did well to get back and block the shot for a corner.
Glenavon suffered a setback in the 36th minute when Jay Magee picked up an ankle injury and was replaced by Conor Hagan while Kyle Neill moved to centre back.
Two minutes from the break Jamie Tomelty received a pass from Matthew Paget and cut in from the right onto his left foot. His low shot hit the inside of the post and rebounded across the goal and clear of danger.
Glenavon was much improved in the second half and took the lead after 55 minutes. Brian McCaul scored the opener for his second goal in as many games since his loan signing from Linfield. He broke through a tackle and played the ball out to Tony Grant on the left. He slotted over a low cross that Hamilton stepped over and the young midfielder ran onto it and calmly stroked it past David Miskelly.
Kevin Braniff, who had been cautioned at the end of the first half for dissent was perhaps lucky to escape a second caution when he cynically tripped Niall Henderson just inside the Portadown half but from the resulting 61st minute Kyle Neill free kick Hamilton headed in from 6 yards to make it 2-0 after Grant had nodded the ball back into the danger area from beyond the far post.
In the 67th minute Jonny Magee then suffered what looked like a re-occurrence of his hamstring problem after he cleared the ball and eventually he had to come off with Mark Miskimmin replacing him. This forced another Glenavon reshuffle with Shannon filling in at centre back alongside Neill, Hagan dropping to right back.
There was 84 minutes on the clock when Henderson dallied on the ball and allowed Braniff to nick it. His shot rebounded off the near post leaving McCloskey with an easy tap in to make it 2-1. In the 89th minute the ball broke to Ross Redman just outside the Glenavon box and he smashed a great half-volley off the cross bar.
In the 4th minute of stoppage time Glenavon was awarded a free kick for a foul by Redman on Miskimmin out on the Glenavon right, level with the Portadown penalty spot. Hamilton took a short free kick to Grant but the ball broke to McCafferty and the Glenavon boss was harshly booked for a tackle on the Portadown midfielder. Having been cautioned earlier for ‘kicking the ball away’ at a Portadown free kick he was sent off for the second bookable offence.
Glenavon: O’Hare, Shannon, Neill, Jay Magee (Hagan 36), Jonny Magee (MIskimmin 67), Henderson, McCaul, Hamilton, Cherry, Grieve, Grant. Subs not used: Coleman, Adams, Mitchell
Portadown: Miskelly, Redman, O’Hara (Burns 82), Breen, Gartland, Boyle (McCloskey 68), Clarke, Braniff, Tomelty, Paget (Lyness 76), McCafferty. Subs not used: Murphy (GK), McConnell
Match Officials: M. Courtney, E. Shanks, J. Eakin
Goals: McCaul 55 (1-0), Hamilton 61 (2-0), McCloskey 84 (2-1)
Cautions: McCafferty, Branniff (45+2), Henderson (54), Hamilton (57, s/o 90+5), Miskimmin (88), Redman (90+4)
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