Never behind once in the match, Glenavon held their nerve after going ahead for the third time 15 minutes from time and inflicted Linfield’s third straight league defeat, the first time the Windsor Park side has experienced that since December 2002.
Two changes for Glenavon: Kyle Neill is suspended so Conor Dillon comes in and Eoin Bradley returns to the starting lineup with Declan O’Brien dropping to the bench. David Healey also made two changes with former Glenavon striker Guy Bates having to settle for a place on the bench, young forward Paul Smyth his replacement, and Niall Quinn being replaced by Aaron Burns.
Daniel Kearns put Glenavon ahead with a wonderfully worked goal in the 7th minute but Jamie Mulgrew equalised ten minutes later with a fantastic strike into the top corner from all of 25 yards. The goals came either side of a superb save by Johnny Tuffey who denied a close range shot from Andy Waterworth.
The opener came when Joel Cooper played the ball out of his own penalty area down the left wing and Bradley’s neat chest pass released Kearns. He played the ball back to Bradley and the striker rolled an inch-perfect return ball across the Linfield box with Kearns showing composure to beat the visitors’ keeper from 8 yards.
The Linfield equaliser came out of the blue as Jamie Mulgrew got on the ball in midfield and unleashed an unstoppable shot from at least 25 yards that gave Tuffey no chance.
Glenavon put a great burst together as half time approached with Bradley and Kearns again combining well on the left. This time they set Cooper clear but Callacher blocked Bradley’s shot in the 6 yard box as he got on the end of Cooper’s cross. Ross Glendinning then denied Mark Sykes’ near post flick and Cooper’s follow up with a superb double save.
Tuffey had to be at his best to keep out Smyth’s close range shot early in the second half before Cooper restored Glenavon’s lead in the 49th minute. His left foot cross from the right side of the box went straight in thanks to a clever dummy by Bradley who stepped aside to let the ball go, unsighting Glendinning in the visitors’ goal.
Linfield were level just two minutes later though when Mulgrew turned provider, rolling a pass into the run of Kirk Millar who smashed a low shot into the bottom corner from 10 yards.
Cooper scored what proved to be the winning goal 15 minutes from time when he slotted in from close range after Andy Hall’s free kick had rebounded back off the post.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marshall, Kelly, Lindsay (C), Dillon, Hall, Kilmartin, Sykes, Cooper, Kearns, Bradley (Hamilton 71). Subs: McKeown, Patton, McGrory, O’Brien, Hamilton
Cautions: Marshall 22
Linfield: Ross Glendinning, Haughey (Salley 83), Callacher, Waterworth (c), Millar, Burns, Ward, Clarke, Kee (Bates 77), Mulgrew, Smyth. Subs: Stafford, Bates, Reece Glendinning, Salley, Deane (GK)
Cautions: Waterworth 86
Referee: Arnold Hunter