Johnny Tuffey’s penalty save proved vital to ensure Glenavon took all three points after Kevin Braniff had scored what turned out to be the winning goal. The Glenavon keeper spoke with Gary Ellis of the Lurgan Mail after the game.
Three enforced changes for Glenavon with David Elebert only fit enough for a place on the bench and Mark Sykes and Joel Cooper away on International duty. In come Kris Lindsay, Ciaran Martyn and Mark Patton.
Not many clear cut chances for either side in the first half. Declan O’Brien almost beat Chris Johns at the near post when he got on the end of a 26th minute Mark Patton cross but the Bannsiders keeper did well to turn his shot round for a corner. A minute later a slip on the edge of his box by David Ogilby allowed Martyn to get on the ball but he elected to pass to O’Brien rather than shoot and the offside flag went up.
In the 36th minute Johns dropped a Kevin Braniff cross as he jumped with O’Brien and Conor Dillon netted but referee Raymond Hetherington whistled for a foul on the keeper, rather harshly.
Right on the stroke of half time Ogilby was lucky when the ref adjudged his high boot to O’Brien’s head was right on the edge of the box and not within it. Hall’s free kick bounced off Braniff’s shin and ran safely through to the keeper.
The home side started the second half positively and Rodney Brown was unlucky when his 50th minute header hit the top of the bar and four minutes later Darren McCauley fired wide when he had been played in by Ian Parkhill’s pass.
David Ogilby was booked when he brought down Patton as he surged through the middle and from Andy Hall’s free kick Glenavon eventually broke the deadlock. Braniff put the Lurgan Blues in front on the hour mark when he rose to head past Johns from 6 yards after hesitancy by Coleraine left back Adam Mullan allowed Conor Dillon to cut the ball back to Martyn who crossed for the Glenavon striker.
Johnny Tuffey made a vital save in the 73rd minute when he managed to divert McCauley’s shot across goal out for a corner and he was in action again ten minutes later when he saved a penalty.
Coleraine was awarded the penalty for a handball in the 83rd minute and in the aftermath Kris Lindsay was shown a second yellow card. James McLaughlin took the spot kick but Tuffey dived to his right and pulled off a great save.
The ten men of Glenavon managed to survive the late pressure from the home side with Simon Kelly clearing a Howard Beverland glancing header off the line when Tuffey did look like being beaten.
Not a classic performance by Glenavon but a very vital win that keeps the Lurgan Blues well placed to claim that coveted 3rd place.
Coleraine: Johns, Beverlands (c), Mullan, Higgins, Ogilby, McCauley, Harkin, Brown, Watt, McLaughlin, Parkhill (McGonigle 69) Subs: Doherty, Morrow, McGonigle, Kanswicher, Law
Cautions: Ogilby 59
Glenavon: Tuffey, McGrory, Kelly, Lindsay, Marshall, Hall, Dillon, Martyn (c), Patton, Braniff, O’Brien (Hamilton 78). Subs: Ferguson, Hamilton, Elebert, Delaney, Burns.
Cautions: Lindsay 29 and 83
Referee: Raymond Hetherington