Glenavon bounced back from Monday night’s defeat to Glentoran with a barnstorming win against Mid-Ulster neighbours Portadown. Goals from Kevin Braniff and Eoin Bradley gave the home side a 2-0 halftime lead and they never really looked like dropping points, responding with a second Bradley goal just four minutes after a Chris Casement strike had given the Ports a brief glimmer of hope.
Three changes for Glenavon following Monday night’s defeat to Glentoran: Mark Sykes, Kris Lindsay and Andy Hall drop to the bench with Andy Kilmartin, Andy McGrory and Eoin Bradley coming in to the starting line-up.
Glenavon got onto the front foot straight from the first whistle and Kevin Braniff’s shot was tipped over the bar by David Miskelly in the 12th minute.
Three minutes later Ciaran Martyn was unlucky when he met Bradley’s low cross at the near post only to see the ball rebound off the other post with Ross Redman getting in a block to deny Daniel Kearns follow up effort.
A wonderful free kick by Kevin Braniff put Glenavon into a deserved lead in the 27th minute. Michael Gault had fouled Joel Cooper just outside the box and the former Ports striker curled his free kick over the wall and past the despairing dive of Miskelly.
Bradley doubled the lead in the 35th minute at the end of a fabulous period of play by Glenavon involving some never-say-die work by Rhys Marshall and a neat back-heel from Kearns which culminated in a low ball across the goal area by Cooper with Bradley getting in ahead of his marker to stab the ball home from 3 yards.
David Miskelly had to go off after a prolonged period of treatment after he was injured in a heavy fall after he gathered a high ball. Young substitute keeper Marty Marron replaced the veteran keeper in the 54th minute.
Thirty five seconds after Bradley had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside in the 65th minute Portadown broke and Chris Casement scored with a low shot in off the post.
The Glenavon striker restored the two goal lead in the 69th minute with his 20th goal of the season when the substitute goal keeper spilled a shot from Braniff and Bradley was on hand to sweep the ball home.
Two minutes later Robert Garrett was sent off after picking up a second yellow when he hacked down Cooper.
Marron did well to tip an 88th minute Andy Hall free kick over the bar before Kilmartin rounded off the scoring in the last of the seven minutes of stoppage time when he slid in at the back post to stab in the ball from Hall’s cross after good work by Mark Sykes.
Glenavon (4-4-2): Tuffey, McGrory, Dillon, Kelly, Marshall, Kearns, Kilmartin, Martyn (C), Cooper, Braniff, Bradley. Subs: Lindsay, Hall (Kearns 74), Sykes (Martyn 90), O’Brien, Hamilton (Marshall 83)
Cautions: Marshall 13, Kearns 58, Kelly 74, Hamilton 90+3
Portadown (3-5-2): Miskelly, Casement, Breen, Oman (c), Redman, Soares, Gault, Garrett, Lowry, McAllister, Ramsey. Subs: Marron (GK) (Miskelly 54), Mouncey, Parker, Mackle (Ramsey 78), Withers (Soares 80)
Cautions: Ramsey 23, Gault 26, Garrett 39 and 71,
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)