Gary Hamilton had high praise for all his 11 players used on Friday night, as he explained to Gary Ellis of the Lurgan Mail after the game.David Elebert makes his first league start for some time as Gary Hamilton is forced to make changes at the back with Rhys Marshall and Simon Kelly suspended tonight. It’s looking like Joel Cooper will be slotting in at left back, a position where he started his career.
Glenavon started brightly but Crusaders came back at them strongly and Jordan Owens completely missed the ball when he found himself unmarked at the back post from a deep cross in the 4th minute by BJ Burns. It took some resolute defending with Elebert blocking a fierce volley from Paul Heatley, Michael Carvill then saw a volley crash off the bar before Kevin Braniff cleared a Declan Caddell header off the line.
In the 25th minute a free kick 25 yards out was rolled by Burns to Colin Coates and his fierce drive was brilliantly saved by Jonny Tuffey.
Three minutes later and Eoin Bradley fired home his 18th goal of the season via a deflection of Caddell to put the Lurgan Blues ahead from a super hold up and neat pass inside the box by Braniff.
Jordan Owens made up for his earlier miss when his back post header from Michael Carvill’s cross came down off the underside of the bar and was adjudged to have crossed the line to draw the scores level in the 68th minute.
Bradley was sent off in the 82nd minute after a coming together in the Crusaders box with Coates who was shown a yellow card for the same incident.
Crusaders: O’Neill, B J Burns, Robinson, Coates (c), McClean, Snoddy, Caddell, Whyte, Carvill, Owens, Heatley. Subs: Mitchell, Clarke (Snoddy 63), Forsythe (Whyte 63), Magowan, O’Carroll
Cautions: BJ Burns 59, Caddell 75, Coates 82, Carvill 90+1
Glenavon: Tuffey, McGrory, Elebert, Dillon, Cooper, Hall, Kilmartin (c), Sykes, Kearns, Braniff, Bradley. Subs: Lindsay, Patton, O’Brien, Bobby Burns, Marron
Cautions: Bradley s/o 82
Referee: Raymond Hetherington