With both sides making 11 changes to the starting line-ups, the game had a definite end of season air to it as the respective managers have one eye firmly on next week’s Tennent’s Irish Cup Final.
Glenavon give full starting debuts to four players: Alex McIlmail, Carter Savage, Conall Delaney and Robbie Norton. Adam McCallum is the only Linfield player making his first start.
Some young bloke called Hamilton is playing at centre half alongside Savage with Andy McGrory at right back and Bobby Burns at left back.
Fabio O’Brien got on the end of a super pass into the box by Mark Sykes but the striker was off-balance as he tried to strike and his left foot effort went well wide in the 18th minute.
The Dubliner was unceremoniously brought down just outside the box four minutes later by Linfield skipper Mark Stafford who picked up a yellow card for the foul. Hamilton rolled the free kick to Sykes and his shot was deflected for a corner from which O’Brien headed just over. Minutes later Hamilton’s free kick into the box was crossed back in by Delaney and O’Brien was denied by Ross Glendinning and Stafford cleared his follow up effort off the line.
Just after the half hour James McGrath made a great save to deny Ross Clarke with Ruari Croskery side-footing his follow up effort a foot wide of the post.
On the 51st minute Robbie Norton fired straight at Glendinning and moments later Michael McClellan hit the side netting after ex-Glenavon forward Gary Lavery played him in.
Norton and Delaney then played a neat one-two with Norton’s shot appearing to be deflected for a corner but Referee Arnold Hunter signalled a goal kick. Ruairi Morgan replaced Norton after 58 minutes and seconds later he and Daniel Kearns combined in the box to set up a chance for McGrory but his effort with the outside of the boot went straight to the Linfield keeper.
In the 69th minute Alex McIlmail crossed to Sykes who swivelled on the penalty spot and got away a shot but once again it flew straight into the arms of Glendinning.
Croskery had a 78th minute shot blocked by Daniel McKeown who had replaced Hamilton 7 minutes earlier but he scored four minutes later with a bullet header from a corner by substitute Eamon Scannell to snatch the points.
Glenavon: James McGrath, Andy McGrory, Gary Hamilton, Carter Savage, Bobby Burns, Robbie Norton, Mark Sykes, Daniel Kearns, Conall Delaney, Alex McIlmail, Fabio O’Brien. Subs: Ruairi Morgan (Norton 58), Daniel McKeown (Hamilton 71), Harry Robinson (Sykes 75), Liam McKenna, Marcus Murphy.
Linfield: Ross Glendinning, Seanan Foster, Adam McCallum, Mark Stafford (c), Reece Glendinning, Ruairi Croskery, Stephen Fallon, Ross Clarke, Niall Quinn, Michael McLellan, Gary Lavery. Subs: Jordan Malone, Reece Neale (Foster 83), Jake Moore (Lavery 71), Eamon Scannell (Quinn 63), Alex Moore (GK).
Referee: Arnold Hunter