Dungannon Swifts 3-2 Glenavon
Danske Bank Premiership
Stangmore Park, Saturday 16th April 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Glenavon lost 3-2 to Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park on Saturday afternoon.
James Convie put the home side in front after just 12 seconds, a goal which statistician Marshall Gillespie declared was the fastest of the season to date.
The Swifts doubled their lead on 17 minutes when captain James Knowles scored from the penalty spot after Mark Haughey had fouled Rhyss Campbell inside the box.
Glenavon got back into the game in the 31st minute when Garry Breen turned the ball into his own net while attempting to clear a Conor McCloskey cross.
Remarkably, the Lurgan Blues drew level just three minutes later when McCloskey scored with a stunning free-kick.
In a second half that was a lot less eventful than the first, it was the home side who grabbed the winner in the 83rd minute when Matthew Snoddy put the ball past his own goalkeeper as he tried to cut out a low cross from Ryan Mayse.
There were still supporters filtering into the ground when the opening goal was scored, as the Swifts took the lead after just 12 seconds. After the ball was played back to him following kick-off, Knowles clipped a ball forward into the Glenavon penalty area which caught out Calum Birney and sent Campbell through on goal. Glenavon goalkeeper Josh Clarke made a superb save to tip Campbell’s shot onto the crossbar. The young keeper followed that up by making another good stop to deny Convie’s follow-up effort, but when the ball fell back to Convie for him to have a second bite at the cherry, Clarke was powerless to keep the ball out of the net for a third time, and the Swifts had the lead straight from the off.
Glenavon’s disastrous start to the game continued when Haughey was adjudged to have fouled Campbell in the penalty area on 17 minutes and referee Evan Boyce pointed to the spot. Knowles stepped up and calmly stroked the spot-kick into the net, sending Clarke the wrong way.
The Lurgan Blues’ first real meaningful attack didn’t occur until 26 minutes in when Snoddy fizzed in a dangerous cross from the right, but Dungannon goalkeeper Dwayne Nelson did well to palm the ball away from danger.
It was to be another cross from the right which led to Glenavon’s opening goal in the 31st minute. This time it was McCloskey who delivered a low ball into the box. Breen slid and attempted to divert the ball away from goal, but instead he only succeeded in sending it past Nelson and into the net.
After such a horrendous opening to the match, Glenavon somehow found themselves level on 34 minutes. The visitors were awarded a free-kick some 25 yards from goal, just left of centre. McCloskey struck a wicked shot with his right foot that was so well placed that the ball actually caught in the stanchion of the far top corner.
Glenavon came close to edging in front before the half-time whistle. McCloskey was again the free-kick taker in the 41st minute. This time he curled a cross into the box from the left and Danny Wallace sent a backward header towards the far post, but the ball drifted narrowly wide of the upright.
The Lurgan Blues went even closer to grabbing the lead 12 minutes into the second half. Peter Campbell swung over a corner from the right and Matthew Fitzpatrick leaped highest, but unfortunately for Glenavon’s top scorer his header came crashing back off the crossbar.
It was the home side’s turn to hit the crossbar on 76 minutes when substitute Mayse saw his effort strike the woodwork.
Wallace did well to get back and clear the ball off the line after Clarke came out and failed to gather it two minutes later.
The hosts did manage to regain the lead seven minutes from time, and it was a goal that was remarkably similar to Glenavon’s first. Ethan McGee’s long free-kick down the right flank released Mayse and he sent a first-time cross into the penalty area. Snoddy worked back and attempted to make the interception, but he sliced the ball off his left boot and it flew past Clarke and into the net, meaning Dungannon ran out 3-2 winners.
This was a hugely disappointing result for Glenavon after their impressive victory over Ballymena United last weekend, and with the Sky Blues coming from behind to defeat Portadown 2-1 at the Showgrounds, they are now just one point behind Glenavon in the battle for seventh place once more.
Easter Tuesday (19th April) sees a full set of fixtures in the Danske Bank Premiership, with Glenavon travelling to the Loughview Leisure Arena to take on ninth-placed Carrick Rangers, while Ballymena host basement club Warrenpoint Town at the Showgrounds. Both games kick-off at 7.45 PM.
Dungannon Swifts: 18. Dwayne Nelson (GK), 2. Caolin Coyle, Micheal Glynn, 5. Dylan King, 6. James Knowles (C), 11. Rhyss Campbell, 16. Garry Breen, 24. Terry Devlin, 27. Ethan McGee, 33. Cathair Friel, 47. James Convie
Subs: 17. Cahal McGinty (for 2. Caolin Coyle, 63’), 8. Ryan Mayse (for 47. James Convie, 71’), 9. Joseph McCready (for 33. Cathair Friel, 86’), 32. Ruairi McDonald (for 11. Rhyss Campbell, 86’); not used: 46. Alex Moore (GK), 15. Ben Gallagher, 28. Shea Conway
Goals: 47. James Convie (1’), 6. James Knowles (17’ PEN), 14. Matthew Snoddy (OG) (83’)
Yellow cards: 2. Caolin Coyle (41’), 33. Cathair Friel (53’), 3. Micheal Glynn (90+2’)
Glenavon: 32. Josh Clarke (GK), 4. Calum Birney, 5. Mark Haughey, 10. Peter Campbell, 14. Matthew Snoddy, 17. Conor McCloskey, 19. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 23. Daniel Wallace, 27. James Singleton (C), 28. Robert Garrett, 30. Sean Ward
Subs: 8. Michael O’Connor (for 27. James Singleton, 43’), 6. Andrew Doyle (for 4. Calum Birney, 46’), 26. Joshua Doyle (for 28. Robert Garrett, 75’); not used: 20. Conor Scannell, 21. Jack O’Mahony, 44. Harry Lynch, 46. Harry Norton
Goals: 16. Garry Breen (OG) (31’), 17. Conor McCloskey (34’)
Yellow cards: 14. Matthew Snoddy (58’)
Referee: Evan Boyce