Terrible blunder by Reds keeper Peter Burke, gifting the ball to Guy Bates as he completely fluffed his attempt to kick out a back pass. The ball hit Bates who rounded him before slotting the ball in from inside the six yard box to give Glenavon a 12th minute lead.

Guy Bates nets the opener. Photo by Brian Bain.

A happy striker! Photo by Alan Weir

A minute earlier Johnny Tuffey had pulled off a great save, pushing David McDaid’s shot onto the woodwork before Caolan Marron cleared the rebound.

Andy McGrory doubled the lead three minutes later when he nipped in ahead of Levi Ives to stab home an inadvertent flick-on by Reds defender Jason McGuinness from a long throw by James Singleton.

Andy McGrory celebrates after making it 2-0. Photo by Alan Weir

Photo by Brian Bain.

McDaid pulled a goal back in the 22nd minute when he slid in to slam Martin Donnelly’s cross into the roof of the net from six yards.

Stephen Garrett drew the sides level after 38 minutes when he rose at the back post to nod in a cross by James Knowles.

In the 44th minute Burke redeemed his earlier error, pulling off a fantastic save to push Greg Moorouse’s 18 yard volley over the bar. From the resulting corner David Elebert saw his downward header cleared off the line by Donnelly.

Glenavon had strong claims for a penalty turned down when James Knowles seemed to make contact with James Singleton’s leg as he tried to get a shot in from close range and Jason McGuinness then appeared to push Greg Moorhouse over in the six yard area.

Photo by Alan Weir

Photo by Alan Weir

Glenavon has been camped in the Cliftonville half for most of this second half but somehow the Reds defence is holding out. Burke more than made up for that costly error with another fantastic save, tipping Patton’s well-struck shot over the bar and Donnelly once again came to the rescue on the goal-line, clearing Ciaran Martyn’s header.

With several goalmouth scrambles, it just wouldn’t go in for the home side but Gary Hamilton, and the fans, will have been pleased by tonight’s performance by all the players.

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Marshall, Elebert, Marron, Singleton, McGrory, Martyn, Sykes, Patton, Moorhouse, Bates. Subs: Kelly, Neill, Cooper, Hall, O’Brien (Moorhouse 85)

Cliftonville: Burke, Cosgrove, McGovern, McGuinness (c), Ives, M Donnelly, Knowles, Catney, Curran, McDaid, Garrett. Subs: Mooney, Winchester (McDaid 85), Lavery (M Donnelly 76), A Donnelly, Reynolds

Referee: Tim Marshall