Glenavon 2–0 Carrick Rangers
Danske Bank Premiership
Mourneview Park, Saturday 12th March 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Second-half goals from top scorer Matthew Fitzpatrick and captain James Singleton saw Glenavon pick up a 2-0 win over Carrick Rangers at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon.
After a first half in which very little action of note happened, the home supporters finally had reason to cheer when Fitzpatrick converted at the back post following a Peter Campbell corner on 66 minutes.
Glenavon doubled their lead and effectively sealed the three points when Singleton scored with a well-placed low shot in the 79th minute.
Glenavon came close to grabbing the lead on five minutes when Conor McCloskey’s low shot was on target, but Carrick defender Jim Ervin did well to clear off the line.
Five minutes later Michael O’Connor picked out Fitzpatrick with a pass from the right, but the striker couldn’t generate any power with his header and it was a simple save for Aaron Hogg in the Carrick goal.
McCloskey had another effort in the 37th minute, but he sliced his shot wide after he’d been teed up by Matthew Snoddy.
It was Snoddy himself who had a shot on goal a minute before the break. Unfortunately for Glenavon’s player of the month for February his well-struck effort from distance went narrowly over the bar.
Calum Birney missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring for the Lurgan Blues a minute into the second half. Campbell picked the big centre-half out with an inswinging corner from the right. Birney looked certain to score, but he couldn’t direct his header on target from point-blank range.
A minute later the home side won a free-kick in a threatening position on the left. The angle was tight, and just about everybody expected O’Connor to deliver a cross, but the former international midfielder had a shot on goal instead, and he almost caught Hogg out, with the ball just clearing the crossbar and landing on the roof of the net.
Carrick captain David Cushley very nearly gave the visitors the lead against the run of play on 52 minutes. The forward appeared to be offside as he broke through on goal, but the linesman’s flag remained down and Cushley proceeded to round Glenavon goalkeeper James Taylor before striking a low shot with his left foot which was destined for the net. Birney did superbly well, however, to get back and make a goal-saving block to ensure the game remained goalless.
Glenavon finally managed to open the scoring on 66 minutes. Campbell’s corner from the right somehow travelled right across a crowd of players in front of the goal and found its way to Fitzpatrick at the back post and he thumped the ball home to grab his 12th league goal of the campaign.
Singleton had an excellent game in the heart of Glenavon’s midfield, and the Lurgan Blues’ captain was rewarded with a goal in the 79th minute. O’Connor launched a free-kick into the Carrick penalty area from deep and when the visiting defenders failed to clear the ball Singleton latched onto it and took one touch before striking a low shot with his left foot from just outside the box which found the bottom–right corner.
Some complacency seemed to creep into the Glenavon players after they had doubled their lead, and they invited pressure from Carrick for much of the remainder of the game, but the away side were unable to find a goal.
In fact, it was Glenavon who might have grabbed a third in the dying moments of the game when they launched a counterattack following a Rangers corner. Campbell led the charge and carried the ball over the halfway line before squaring it to substitute Andy Hall. Hall managed to find the target with his shot, but Hogg made a fine save to keep the score at 2-0, which was how the game finished.
Glenavon’s victory, coupled with Ballymena United’s defeat at the hands of Portadown, means the Lurgan Blues have now leapfrogged the Sky Blues and occupy seventh spot in the Danske Bank Premiership standings.
Gary Hamilton’s men are at home again next Saturday (19thMarch), with second-placed Cliftonville the visitors. Kick-off is at 3 PM.
MATCH SPONSORS – In Memory of M.R.T.
BALL SPONSOR – Louise McKinstry and Doug Beattie
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Kuba Creative
Glenavon: 18. James Taylor (GK), 4. Calum Birney, 5. Mark Haughey, 6. Andrew Doyle, 8. Michael O’Connor, 10. Peter Campbell, 14. Matthew Snoddy, 17. Conor McCloskey, 19. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 23. Daniel Wallace, 27. James Singleton (C)
Subs: 11. Andrew Hall (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 67’), 21. Jack O’Mahony (for 14. Matthew Snoddy, 79’); not used: 20. Conor Scannell, 26. Joshua Doyle, 37. Liam Corr, 46. Harry Norton, 59. Aaron Prendergast
Goals: 19. Matthew Fitzpatrick (66’), 27. James Singleton (77’)
Yellow cards: 17. Conor McCloskey (21’), 8. Michael O’Connor (60’), 27. James Singleton (71’)
Carrick Rangers: 18. Aaron Hogg (GK), 4. Mark Surgenor,5. James Ervin, 6. Steven Gordon, 7. David Cushley (C), 8. Corey McMullan, 9. Emmett McGuckin, 20. Kyle Cherry, 23. Reece Glendinning, 32. Thomas Scully, 39. Ben Tilney
Subs: 42. Lloyd Anderson (for 8. Corey McMullan, 59’), 28. Jack Chambers (for 20. Kyle Cherry, 70’), 12. Ewan Kelly (for 4. Mark Surgenor, 79’), 22. Stewart Nixon (for 7. David Cushley, 79’), 31. Matthew Carson (for 32. Thomas Scully, 79’); not used: 1. Matthew Skeet (GK), 33. Paul Waite
Yellow cards: 5. James Ervin (21’), 28. Jack Chambers (90’), 12. Ewan Kelly (90+3’)
Referee: Lee Tavinder