Carrick Rangers 0-1 Glenavon
Danske Bank Premiership
Loughshore Leisure Arena, Tuesday 19th April 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Michael O’Connor scored a free-kick two minutes from time to pick up a precious three points for Glenavon in their quest for seventh place as the Lurgan Blues defeated Carrick Rangers 1-0 at Taylors Avenue on Tuesday night.
In a game that looked to be destined for a stalemate, substitute O’Connor stepped up and curled home a free-kick from 25 yards to ensure Glenavon left victorious.
The home side had the first meaningful effort at goal when captain David Cushley flashed a shot over the bar on 10 minutes.
Four minutes later, Rangers’ Matty Carson had a go from distance. The effort was on target, but Glenavon goalkeeper Josh Clarke made a comfortable save.
Clarke made another save in the 28th minute when he got down to gather Alex Gawne’s low shot.
Glenavon didn’t really threaten the Carrick goal until 39 minutes when Matthew Fitzpatrick was presented with a shooting chance. Rangers goalkeeper Aaron Hogg got down to his right to make a crucial save.
What was probably the best chance of the first half arrived in stoppage time. Daniel Kelly was picked out from a free-kick and he sent a header narrowly wide of the post when he should have at least hit the target.
Hogg got the better of Fitzpatrick again in the fifth minute of the second half. Sean Ward picked the striker out with a cross from the right, and it looked like Glenavon’s top scorer was sure to add to his tally, but the Carrick goalkeeper made a smart save from the close-range header.
Kelly found McGuckin with a through-ball for the home side on 75 minutes, but the big striker sent his effort well over Clarke’s crossbar.
Glenavon’s young goalkeeper made an impressive save in the 80th minute when he rushed off his line and smothered a shot from Carson after the Carrick man had broken clear on the left flank.
Two minutes later, Fitzpatrick sent a header narrowly wide of the post for the Lurgan Blues.
As it entered the closing stages, the game looked certain to finish goalless, but with two minutes left on the clock, Glenavon won a free-kick some 25 yards from goal. Up stepped O’Connor to take. The substitute’s curling effort may have taken a slight deflection off the wall, but none of the Glenavon players cared about that as the ball sailed beyond the dive of Hogg and nestled in the top corner to seal another important victory in the push for seventh spot and the European play-offs.
The icing on the cake for Glenavon was the fact that Ballymena United suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Warrenpoint Town, meaning the Lurgan Blues moved four points clear of the Braidmen again.
With two games left to play, Gary Hamilton’s men now know that victory at home to Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown on Saturday (23rd April) would seal seventh place. Kick-off at Mourneview Park will be at 3 PM.
Carrick Rangers: 18. Aaron Hogg (GK), 4. Mark Surgenor, 5. James Ervin, 7. David Cushley (C), 8. Corey McMullan, 9. Emmett McGuckin, 10. Daniel Kelly, 11. Alexander Gawne, 20. Kyle Cherry, 23. Reece Glendinning, 31. Matthew Carson
Subs: 2. Kurtis Forsythe (for 8. Corey McMullan, 44’), 39. Ben Tilney (for 20. Kyle Cherry, 51’), 12. Ewan Kelly (for 31. Matthew Carson, 86’); not used: 1. Matthew Skeet (GK), 6. Steven Gordon, 28. Jack Chambers, 33. Paul Waite
Yellow cards: 4. Mark Surgenor (31’), 7. David Cushley (41’), 31. Matthew Carson (81’), 23. Reece Glendinning (90’)
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: 21. Jack O’Mahony (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 23’), 8. Michael O’Connor (for 14. Matthew Snoddy, 69’), 26. Joshua Doyle (for 28. Robert Garrett, 69’), 7. Andrew Waterworth (for 4. Calum Birney, 78’); not used: 20. Conor Scannell, 44. Harry Lynch, 46. Harry Norton
Goals: 8. Michael O’Connor (88’)
Yellow cards: 23. Daniel Wallace (47’), 10. Peter Campbell (90’)
Referee: Christopher Morrison