Glenavon 2-2 Glentoran
Danske Bank Premiership
Mourneview Park, Saturday 22nd February 2020
Match Report by Calum Jones
Photos by Maynard Collins and Alan Weir
Glenavon came from behind twice to earn a point in a pulsating 2-2 draw with Glentoran at Mourneview Park on Saturday.
The excellent Navid Nasseri put the Glens ahead on 17 minutes, while Danny Purkis headed in Glenavon’s equaliser in the 37th minute.
Nasseri grabbed his and Glentoran’s second goal on the hour mark, before Aaron Harmon scored Glenavon’s second equaliser in bizarre circumstances 11 minutes later.
Nasseri had a chance to complete a hat-trick from the penalty spot on 81 minutes, but he was denied by a brilliant save from Glenavon goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey.
Glenavon nearly opened the scoring on four minutes. Conor Pepper failed to clear a Purkis cross and the ball fell to Dylan Davidson. The former Glens man squeezed a shot on target, but Marian Antolovic did well in the Glentoran goal to dive down to his right and make the save.
A minute later, the away side came close to breaking the deadlock. Pepper’s ball into the box was headed on by Ruaidhri Donnelly for Nasseri. He squared the ball for Robbie McDaid, and the former Glenavon striker’s shot was heading into the net until Harmon cleared it off the line.
Tuffey produced an outstanding save on 16 minutes to keep the ball out of the bottom corner when Elvio Van Overbeek’s curling cross from the right beat everybody. Despite being unsighted, the Glenavon goalkeeper still managed to dive down to his right in time and push the ball round the post.
However, it was only a minute later when Glentoran went in front. The passage of play actually began with a Glenavon throw-in on the right taken by Josh Daniels, but Nasseri cut it out with his head. McDaid then headed the ball to Donnelly, who in turn headed it in behind the Glenavon defence and into the path of Nasseri. He drilled his low right-footed shot past Tuffey and into the net to make it 1-0.
The visitors had a great opportunity to double their lead in the 32nd minute. Donnelly’s volleyed effort came back off the post and the ball fell for Patrick McClean, but he could only turn his effort wide from close range.
Glenavon got themselves level on 37 minutes. Daniels picked Purkis out with a cross from the right and the striker glanced his header beyond Antolovic and into the far corner.
Nasseri grabbed his second goal on the hour to put the Glens back in front. Nasseri started the move himself by spreading the ball out to Donnelly on the left. The striker then played a pass inside to return it to Nasseri, who had burst forward. He shielded the ball from Daniel Larmour before brilliantly rounding Tuffey and slotting into the empty net.
Glenavon hauled themselves level for a second time 11 minutes later in bizarre circumstances. Harmon played a long ball into the box from near the halfway line. James Singleton and Marcus Kane challenged for it, but neither managed to get a touch and the ball bounced up and made its way towards the far corner. Antolovic really should have kept it out but he was slow to get across to his left and the ball found the back of the net.
Ten minutes later the Glens were awarded a penalty. Substitute Paul O’Neill crossed from the right and when the ball struck the arm of Harmon referee Shane Andrews pointed to the spot to award the penalty kick. Nasseri stepped up to take it, hoping to complete his hat-trick and secure three points for Glentoran in the process, but Tuffey had other ideas in the Glenavon goal. He dived to his right and pushed the ball behind to make a super save and rescue a point for the Lurgan Blues.
Glenavon won’t be in action next weekend as it is Irish Cup quarter-finals week. The Lurgan Blues’ next fixture is on Tuesday 3rd March, when they travel to the Coleraine Showgrounds for a rearranged match against Oran Kearney’s side. Kick-off will be at 7.45pm.
Glenavon: 1. Jonny Tuffey (GK) (C), 2. Daniel Larmour, 6. Andrew Doyle, 7. Josh Daniels, 15. Aaron Harmon, 16. Sammy Clingan, 19. Danny Purkis, 27. James Singleton, 30. Jordan Jenkins, 34. Dylan Davidson, 66. Colin Coates
Subs: 26. Matthew Snoddy (for 16. Sammy Clingan, 46’), 20. Conor McCloskey (for 34. Dylan Davidson, 58’), 10. Conan Byrne (for 30. Jordan Jenkins, 84’); not used: 3. Paddy Burns, 23. Kyle Beggs, 28. Robert Garrett, 37. Cathal Farren
Goals: 19. Danny Purkis (37’), 15. Aaron Harmon (71’)
Yellow Cards: 34. Dylan Davidson (30’), 66. Colin Coates (67’), 6. Andrew Doyle (81), 27. James Singleton (88’)
Glentoran: 30. Marijan Antolovic (GK), 3. Marcus Kane (C), 4. Gavin Peers, 6. Chris Gallagher, 11. Robbie McDaid, 15. Patrick McClean, 16. Conor Pepper, 19. Navid Nasseri, 33. Elvio Van Overbeek, 41. Ruaidhri Donnelly
Subs: 26. Paul O’Neill (for 33. Elvio Van Overbeek, 76’); not used: 1. Elliot Morris (GK), 7. Jonny Frazer, 21. Joe Crowe, 32. Keith Cowan, 34. Ciaran O’Connor, 99. Deivydas Matulevicius
Goals: 19. Navid Nasseri (17’, 60’)
Yellow Cards: 16. Conor Pepper (90+2’)
Referee: Shane Andrews