An entertaining game at Planters Park with some great goals finished 2-5 to Glenavon after the hosts fought back to level from being 2-0 down at half time.
Glenavon’s attacking intent was obvious from the first whistle when, with less than a minute on the clock, as Rhys Marshall raced forward from right back and put over a low cross that was met by Kevin Braniff only for his shot to be blocked by a defender.
The Lurgan Blues went ahead in the 7th minute when Mark Sykes won the ball and slipped it to Braniff. He fed it out to Mark Patton on the right wing who cut inside onto his left foot and curled a superb shot inside the far post and just out of reach of the Dollybirds young keeper Shane McParland. His ‘man of the match’ performance in which he made a string of great saves shows why the Planters Park outfit are interested in securing his services from Dungannon Swifts.
He made a great save to tip Sykes shot over the bar and somehow turned Gary Hamilton’s point blank header round the post when it looked certain that the Glenavon boss would double his sides lead from a pin-point cross from Patton.
The young keeper was unable to prevent Sykes’ rasping drive from hitting the back of his net two minutes before the break as his defenders failed to clear Kyle Neill’s free kick and the young Glenavon midfielder fired a left-footed shot from 25 yards.
Marshall headed against the post early in the second half but Glenn Hand pulled a goal back for the hosts following a well-worked free kick when, with the Glenavon defenders expecting a direct shot at goal, Roland O’Hara instead played the ball out to Chris Coleman on the right wing and Hand tucked away his low cross from the edge of the six yard box.
The lively home side picked up the pace and Richie Thompson drew them level with an incredible effort in the 69th minute when he fired a dipping volley over Johnny Tuffey from wide on the left.
Neill King flashed a header across goal from another dangerous O’Hara free kick in the 75th minute but five minutes later Braniff got the goal his hard work deserved when Hamilton unselfishly squared the ball to him after he and Patton had exchanged passes on the right. Patton, who continues to impress in these pre-season games, completed the scoring in the 83rd minute when he finished off a flowing move with a low shot from 10 yards.
There was still time for Ciaran Caldwell to go close with a looping shot that was dipping under the bar until once again the young keeper rose to tip it over.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marshall, Dillon, Kelly, Neill, Patton, Caldwell, Sykes, Rea, Hamilton, Braniff. Subs: Burns, Hutchings, Freeland