Glenavon 2 – 1 Heart of Midlothian
Mourneview Park, Saturday 6th July 2019
Match Report by Calum Jones
Photos by Maynard Collins
Glenavon produced an excellent performance to defeat Hearts 2 – 1 at Mourneview Park in Saturday’s pre-season friendly.
Stephen Murray capitalised on an error by Harry Cochrane to race through on goal and open the scoring in the 37th minute, while Matthew Ferguson doubled the hosts’ lead just after the hour mark when he headed in from an Andy Hall corner.
Hearts pulled a goal back through Sean Clare in the 86th minute, but Glenavon held on to secure an impressive victory.
The Lurgan Blues certainly did not look overawed by their illustrious opponents in the opening exchanges of the match. Robert Garrett won a free-kick on the edge of the Hearts penalty area in the fourth minute, but Josh Daniels’ effort struck the wall.
Daniels was involved again on 19 minutes when he sent Stephen Murray clear, but the Glenavon striker was denied by an excellent tackle from Hearts centre-half Craig Halkett.
The Scottish side came close to opening the scoring on 33 minutes. Jake Mulraney fed the ball out to Conor Washington on the left. The Northern Ireland international striker cut inside and fired a low shot towards the near post, but the ball hit the side-netting.
It was Glenavon who took the lead four minutes later. Murray pounced when Cochrane failed to control a pass, and the Glenavon forward raced clear before calmly slotting the ball beyond goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal to make it 1 – 0.
Gary Hamilton made no fewer than 10 changes at half-time, with Man of the Match James Singleton being the only Glenavon player who started the game to reappear for the second half, while Hearts manager Craig Levein introduced former Glenavon star Bobby Burns at the break.
Hearts sub Dario Zanatta cut in from the left and had a pop at goal in the third minute of the second half, but James Taylor was equal to the effort, while follow-ups by Uche Ikpeazu and Clare were both thwarted by the Glenavon defence.
On 61 minutes the home side doubled their lead when Ferguson rose to meet a Hall corner-kick and headed the ball into the top right corner.
Burns came close to pulling a goal back for Hearts on 73 minutes. Ikpeazu pulled the ball back to Burns some 20 yards from goal. The former Glenavon man’s right-footed effort was heading for the bottom corner until Taylor dived down to his right and pushed the ball clear.
Hall swung a free-kick from close to the halfway line into the Hearts penalty area on 81 minutes and Andrew Doyle got his head to it, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.
The visitors came agonisingly close to scoring at the other end a minute later when substitute Connor Smith curled a shot inches wide of the far post.
The Scottish side did get their goal on 86 minutes when Clare volleyed home from a Ryan Edwards cross to make it 2 – 1.
In truth, Hearts never looked like finding a second goal in the dying minutes, and Glenavon comfortably held on for an impressive victory over full-time professional opposition.
Next up for the Lurgan Blues is a trip to Wilgar Park to take on Dundela in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday night (9th July). Kick-off is 7.30pm.
Glenavon (first half XI): 1. Jonny Tuffey (GK) (C), 4. Caolan Marron, 7. Josh Daniels, 15. Aaron Harmon, 19. Trialist 1, 24. Stephen Murray, 27. James Singleton, 28. Robert Garrett, 30. Jordan Jenkins, 45. Eoin Wearen, 55. Seamus Sharkey
Second half XI: 18. James Taylor (GK), 2. Daniel Larmour, 6. Andrew Doyle, 9. Andrew Mitchell, 11. Andy Hall, 14. Matthew Ferguson, 16. Sammy Clingan, 20. Conor McCloskey, 22. Robbie Norton, 23. Trialist 2, 27. James Singleton
Subs: 13. Oisin Barr (for 9. Andrew Mitchell, 81’), 25. Ross Hunter (for 14. Matthew Ferguson, 81’)
Goals: 24. Stephen Murray (37’), 14. Matthew Ferguson (61’)
Hearts: Zdenek Zlamal (GK), Lewis Moore, John Souttar (C), Craig Halkett, Aidy White, Ryan Edwards, Harry Cochrane, Oliver Bozanic, Jake Mulraney, Craig Wighton, Conor Washington.
Subs: Bobby Burns (for Aidy White, 46’), Dario Zanatta (for Lewis Moore, 46’), Sean Clare (for Harry Cochrane, 46’), Andy Irving (for Oliver Bozanic, 46’), Uche Ikpeazu (for Craig Wighton, 46’), Connor Smith (for Conor Washington, 61’), Alex Petkov (for Craig Halkett, 75’), Anthony McDonald (for Jake Mulraney, 85’); not used: Colin Doyle (GK), Clevid, Dikamona
Goals: Sean Clare (86’)
Referee: Keith Kennedy