Cliftonville 3-1 Glenavon
Danske Bank Premiership
Solitude, Tuesday 13th August 2019
Match Report by Philip Hawthorne
Once again Glenavon was caught cold within minutes of the kick off, in a carbon copy of Friday night’s opening game, Joe Gormley headed the hosts into the lead with less than three minutes on the clock. Gormley grabbed his second in the 28th minute and Ryan Curran got his name on the scoresheet less than three minutes later to more or less kill the game off in the opening half hour.
Gary Hamilton made a double change at half time with Andrew Mitchell and Jack O’Mahony replacing Jordan Jenkins and Andrew Hall and he also changed to three at the back with James Singleton moving in to the mid-field which helped to contain the Reds threat. Mitchell pulled a goal back early in the second period but the damage had already been done with that first half salvo from the hosts.
It was a very emotional night at Solitude with the late Tommy Breslin’s family and friends attending as a wreath was laid in his memory on the penalty spot at the main stand end.
Caolan Marron made his first start of the season after recovering from a knee injury sustained in pre-season and he slotted in at right back in the absence of the suspended Rhys Marshall. Andrew Doyle, Seamus Sharkey and James Singleton completed the back four with Aaron Harmon, in for Sammy Clingan, in midfield alongside Robbie Garrett.
Cliftonville kicked off and there was less than three minutes on the clock when Ronan Doherty ran forward from midfield down the left and put over a cross that was just asking to be put in the net and Gormley duly obliged, powering a point-blank header beyond a helpless Jonny Tuffey.
Glenavon tried to respond with crosses and free kicks into the Reds box but Richard Brush dealt with them comfortably.
Gormley went close again for Cliftonville when he swivelled on a throw in on the edge of the Glenavon box but his shot was deflected out for a corner.
Conor McCloskey then blazed over the bar from the edge of the D after he made space for himself with a good touch and turn.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Gormley escaped the attentions of Doyle and played a one-two with Curran before smashing a shot past Tuffey from the edge of the box. Curran got his own name on the scoresheet within two minutes when Rory Donnelly nodded the ball on to Doherty and he laid it into the path of Curran to smash home from inside the box.
Ten minutes before the break Curran had a golden opportunity to make it 4-0 when Doyle mis-hit an attempted back pass and it was only thanks to a great save by Tuffey that the Reds striker was denied his second of the night.
The travelling supporters were given a slight ray of hope eight minutes in to the second half when Harmon took a quick free kick to Josh Daniels and Mitchell nipped in at the back post to touch the Derry man’s cross beyond Brush.
Mitchell had a shot saved after he followed up the rebound from a blocked Singleton shot and Daniels fired a volley across goal and just wide of the far post. He later had a header crash off the top of the bar after Singleton’s shot deflected off his own player, Stephen Murray, and looped up towards the winger.
Murray had replaced Seamus Sharkey who had to come off after being the filling in a sandwich between Tuffey and Rory Donnelly, the big defender clearly dazed by a blow to his head.
Glenavon will have to pick themselves up quickly as they play host to Warrenpoint Town on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Ives, Harkin, R. Curran, R. Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty, Gorman, A. Donnelly, Gormley subs Dunne (not used), C. Curran (replaced Doherty 87), Garrett (not used), Foster (not used), Wilson (replaced R. Donnelly 89), Maguire (not used), Rocks (replaced Harkin 90+1)
Goals: Gormley 3, 28, R Curran 30
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marron, Doyle, Daniels, Hall, Harmon, McCloskey, Singleton, Garrett, Jenkins, Sharkey subs Taylor (not used), Burns (not used), Mitchell (replaced Jenkins 46), Ferguson (not used), O’Mahony (replaced Hall 46), Murray (replaced Sharkey 66), Jameson (not used)
Goals: Mitchell 53
Referee: Andrew Davey