Linfield 8-1 Glenavon
Danske Bank Premiership
Windsor Park, Saturday 25th January 2020

Match Report by Calum Jones

Photos by Maynard Collins and Alan Weir

Ten-man Glenavon suffered their second humiliating seven-goal defeat at Windsor Park this season as Linfield ran out 8-1 winners on Saturday.

In the 7-0 defeat back in September it was former Glenavon striker Shayne Lavery who did most of the damage with a quick-fire hat-trick. This time the tormentor in chief was another ex-Lurgan Blue, Joel Cooper. The winger ran his former club ragged in a scintillating performance, scoring two goals and assisting two more.

Stephen Fallon opened the scoring for Linfield in the fifth minute, before Kirk Millar doubled their lead from the penalty spot in controversial circumstances on 15 minutes.

The third goal arrived three minutes later, a superb right-foot shot from Cooper from just outside the box finding the far corner.

Glenavon’s Robert Garrett was then shown a straight red card for dissent on 21 minutes, while Linfield grabbed their fourth goal in the 27th minute when Lavery headed home from Millar’s corner, and full-back Matthew Clarke scored the fifth goal on 34 minutes when he converted from Cooper’s cutback.

Substitute Sammy Clingan pulled one back for Glenavon from the penalty spot on 39 minutes after Snoddy had been upended by Ethan Boyle.

Linfield scored their second penalty and sixth goal through Jordan Stewart in the 53rd minute after Andrew Doyle had been penalised for handball.

Cooper grabbed his second and Linfield’s seventh when he cut in from the right and beat Jonny Tuffey with a low shot at the near post on 78 minutes, and the scoring was rounded off by centre-half Jimmy Callacher in stoppage time when he tapped in at the back post after being found by Cooper to leave the final score 8-1.

There was an element of good fortune involved in Linfield’s opener on five minutes. Stephen Fallon played a one-two with Cooper on the right flank before feeding the ball out to Lavery. The striker played a pass inside, attempting to find Fallon again. James Singleton flicked his left boot at the ball to try and cut it out, but it came off his heel and instead fell kindly into the path of Fallon. The midfielder ran onto the ball and slotted into the far corner with the outside of his right boot.

The home side doubled their lead from the penalty spot 10 minutes later, but the awarding of the penalty itself was a comedy of errors from the officials. First of all, Millar was allowed to take a corner short to Fallon when there was not only a second ball on the pitch but also a ball boy. Fallon was then fouled by Matthew Snoddy, but it was quite clear that the tackle had taken place outside the box. Referee Ian McNabb thought otherwise, however, and pointed to the penalty spot. Millar stepped up and beat the dive of Tuffey with his spot-kick to find the bottom left corner.

Linfield’s third was a superb goal from Cooper on 17 minutes. He killed a long ball with a great first touch, then cut inside from the left wing, beating Aaron Harmon, before sweeping a shot into the far corner with his weaker right foot.

Three minutes later Glenavon were reduced to 10 men. Initially, Millar hit Jenkins with a robust tackle. The winger certainly got plenty of the ball, but he appeared to catch the player as well. When referee McNabb allowed the tackle to go unpunished, Garrett let his frustrations get the better of him, and the former Linfield midfielder said something to McNabb which the referee deemed to be deserving of a straight red card.

Former Everton striker Lavery scored Linfield’s fourth goal when he headed in from Millar’s cross on 27 minutes, while the champions’ fifth goal arrived courtesy of Clarke, who converted from inside the six-yard box after Cooper had cut the ball back. There was some suggestion that the ball had crossed the byline before Cooper pulled it back, but replays of the incident are inconclusive.

Glenavon managed to pull a goal back five minutes before half-time when Clingan converted the game’s second penalty. Doyle fed the ball into the feet of Snoddy and when the midfielder went down under the challenge of Boyle, McNabb pointed to the spot. Clingan sent Rohan Ferguson the wrong way to register Glenavon’s consolation goal.

The game’s third and Linfield’s second penalty was given eight minutes into the second half. Millar crossed from a free-kick on the right and McNabb adjudged the ball to have struck Doyle’s arm. Stewart was entrusted with the spot-kick this time and he sent Tuffey the wrong way to score Linfield’s sixth.

Cooper scored his second goal on 78 minutes. He beat Calum Birney on the right before cutting back inside the defender and getting a low shot away with his left foot. Tuffey, who had made a number of good stops earlier in the game, will be very disappointed that he failed to keep Cooper’s shot out at the near post.

Man of the match Cooper was involved again in Linfield’s eighth goal in injury time. It looked like the winger was going to complete his hat-trick when he broke clear again, but this time he unselfishly clipped the ball to the back post and Callacher slid in to prod it home, leaving the final score Linfield 8-1 Glenavon.

The Lurgan Blues will somehow have to try and pick themselves up ahead of Tuesday night’s (28th January) trip to the Oval to take on Glentoran. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Linfield: 1. Rohan Ferguson (GK), 4. Josh Robinson, 6. Jimmy Callacher, 9. Joel Cooper, 10. Jordan Stewart, 12. Kirk Millar, 14. Shayne Lavery, 16. Matthew Clarke, 20. Stephen Fallon, 22. Jamie Mulgrew (C), 24. Ethan Boyle

Subs: 18. Kyle McClean (for 22. Jamie Mulgrew, 52’), 29. Rory Currie (for 14. Shayne Lavery, 62’), 31. Niall Quinn (for 10. Jordan Stewart, 62’); not used: 8. Matthew Shevlin, 17. Daniel Kearns, 21. Bastien Hery, 40. Alex Moore (GK)

Goals: 20. Stephen Fallon (5’), 12. Kirk Millar (15’, penalty), 9. Joel Cooper (17’, 78’), 14. Shayne Lavery (27’), 16. Matthew Clarke (35’), 10. Jordan Stewart (53’, penalty), 6. Jimmy Callacher (90+2’)

Yellow Cards: None

Glenavon: 1. Jonny Tuffey (GK) (C), 6. Andrew Doyle, 7. Josh Daniels, 10. Conan Byrne, 15. Aaron Harmon, 19. Danny Purkis, 26. Matthew Snoddy, 27. James Singleton, 28. Robert Garrett, 30. Jordan Jenkins, 32. Calum Birney

Subs: 16. Sammy Clingan (for 10. Conan Byrne, 24’), 2. Daniel Larmour (for 6. Andrew Doyle, 55’), 20. Conor McCloskey (for 30. Jordan Jenkins, 63’); not used: 3. Paddy Burns, 12. Greg Moorhouse, 23. Kyle Beggs, 34. Dylan Davidson

Goals: 16. Sammy Clingan (39’, penalty)

Yellow Cards: 32. Calum Birney (12’), 26. Matthew Snoddy (16’), 30. Jordan Jenkins (42’), 27. James Singleton (51’)

Red Cards: 28. Robert Garrett (21’)

Referee: Ian McNabb