An early penalty miss by Andrew Mitchell, awarded for a handball against Chris Casement and a 30th minute goal from former Glenavon player Daniel Kearns saw Linfield edge this opening day game in front of a packed Mourneview Park.

Casement was fortunate to escape a second yellow just nine minutes after the penalty incident when he pulled back Josh Daniels as the Glenavon winger burst past the Linfield fullback, referee Ian McNabb seemingly content to award a free kick and a verbal warning.

Mark Sykes lifted a shot over Roy Carroll just after the hour mark only to see the ball drift inches wide and the former NI International also denied Sykes a few minutes later, parrying a powerful drive away to safety.

The big keeper saved his best to last with a superb fingertip stop to keep out a well-directed Jordan Jenkins shot, the rebound not falling kindly for Stephen Donnelly with Casement completing the clearance.

Roy Carroll denies Jordan Jenkins an equaliser. Photo by Brian Bain

Full match report to follow.