Glenavon 1-2 Larne
Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 20th August 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Photo by Brian Bain Photography
Nine-man Glenavon suffered an agonising 2-1 defeat at home to Larne on Saturday, as former Lurgan Blue Ben Doherty scored a last-gasp penalty to secure the three points for the visitors.
Larne took the lead on 33 minutes after Paul O’Neill rounded Rory Brown and steered the ball into the empty net, but the hosts drew level in the 40th minute when Micheal Glynn headed home his first goal for Glenavon.
The Lurgan Blues finished with nine men for the second successive game, after Calum Birney and Jack Malone were shown straight red cards in the second half.
Gary Hamilton’s side fought back to earn an unlikely point against Ballymena United in their opening fixture, and it looked like history would repeat itself until Sean Ward was penalised for handball in his own penalty area deep into injury time, with Doherty stepping up to smash the spot-kick past Brown.
Glenavon had an early scare when Brown failed to catch a Mark Randall free-kick on 11 minutes, but the goalkeeper managed to gather the ball at the second attempt and the danger was quickly snuffed out.
The first meaningful attempt on goal from the home side occurred a minute later when Peter Campbell squeezed in a shot with his right foot. Larne goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson was able to make a routine save.
Randall exerted his influence on the game as the first half wore on, and he saw a shot from distance sail over the bar on 16 minutes.
Two minutes later the classy midfielder was presented with another shooting opportunity. This time his right-foot shot from 20 yards was curled wide of the target.
Glenavon might have grabbed the lead in the 32nd minute when the Larne defence failed to clear a long free-kick from Brown. Ferguson was left stranded off his line and the ball fell to Glenavon’s Malone, but the midfielder couldn’t direct a shot on target.
Just a minute later the visitors were ahead. Randall slid a pass into the right channel for O’Neill to run onto. The young striker took the ball in his stride and evaded the onrushing Brown with his first touch before slotting into the empty net with his second from a tight angle to break the deadlock.
Glenavon found themselves on level terms seven minutes later. Campbell played in Matthew Fitzpatrick and the striker hit a well-struck shot which stung the palms of Ferguson in the Larne goal. The ball broke for Malone and he drove to the byline before standing up a cross to the back post where Glynn outjumped Larne captain Tomas Cosgrove and powered a header beyond Ferguson and into the net.
Fuad Sule set off on a powerful run down the left flank and sent a dangerous low cross into the Glenavon box in the opening minute of the second half. Danny Wallace defended well to clear the ball.
Malone picked Fitzpatrick out with a superb right-to-left cross-field pass on 49 minutes. Fitzpatrick then cut inside and let fly with a low shot. Ferguson was able to get a touch on the ball and divert it behind for a corner.
A key moment in the game happened on 65 minutes. O’Neill had the ball in the net for the second time, only for the strike to be ruled out by referee Andrew Davey, who had blown his whistle to stop the play for a foul on Lee Bonis by Birney in the build-up. The referee then produced a red card to dismiss Birney for his challenge on Bonis, having adjudged the Glenavon defender to have been the last man. However, surely the correct thing for the referee to do would have been to play an advantage and allow the game to continue, which would have resulted in a Larne goal, but also meant that Birney would have remained on the pitch.
Bonis took the free-kick which he had won. His low right-foot shot was hit well, but Brown was equal to the effort, getting down low to make the save and gather the ball.
Brown thwarted Bonis again in the 75th minute. Haughey’s backpass was short and presented Bonis with a shooting chance. The striker lobbed the ball over Brown and towards the net, but the Glenavon goalkeeper did really well to get back and claw the ball off the line.
For the second weekend in a row Glenavon found themselves down to nine men when Malone was shown a straight red card on 77 minutes. The Glenavon midfielder went in for a 50-50 with O’Neill, but Malone appeared to kick out when both players ended up on the deck, and referee Davey showed no hesitation in producing the second red card of the afternoon.
O’Neill again came close to grabbing his second of the game when he saw his header come back off the crossbar in the 87th minute. The striker had a second bite at the cherry when the rebound fell to him, but Brown somehow managed to make the save to deny O’Neill from point-blank range.
As the game entered stoppage time it looked as though Glenavon were going to hold on to secure a point in the unlikeliest of circumstances, but heartbreak arrived in the sixth minute of added time when Davey penalised Ward for handball and pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Doherty and he slammed his effort home, sending Brown the wrong way in the process, to steal the three points right at the death.
Next up for the Lurgan Blues is a trip to Coleraine on Friday night (26th August). The Bannsiders have two wins from their opening two games of the campaign, so Glenavon know they will face a tough task at Ballycastle Road. Kick-off is at 7:45PM.
MATCH SPONSOR – Jacquard Gin
BALL SPONSOR – Bluebell Cottage Moira and Hollywood
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Ken Cardwell
Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown, 3. Micheal Glynn, 4. Calum Birney, 5. Mark Haughey (C), 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 10. Peter Campbell, 23. Daniel Wallace, 26. Joshua Doyle, 28. Robert Garrett, 29. Jack Malone, 30. Sean Ward
Subs: 16. Isaac Baird (for 26. Joshua Doyle, 70’), 17. Conor McCloskey (for 28. Robert Garrett, 70’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (for 3. Micheal Glynn, 82’); not used: 2. Conor Kerr, 20. Conor Scannell, 21. Aaron Prendergast, 24. Jamie Doran
Goals: 3. Micheal Glynn (40’)
Yellow cards: 10. Peter Campbell (30’), 3. Micheal Glynn (82’)
Red cards: 4. Calum Birney (65’), 29. Jack Malone (77’)
Larne: 34. Rohan Ferguson (GK), 4. Albert Watson, 5. Fuad Sule, 8. Mark Randall, 9. Paul O’Neill, 10. Lee Bonis, 11. Ben Doherty, 15. Aaron Donnelly, 21. Leroy Millar, 23. Tomas Cosgrove (C), 24. Jeff Hughes
Subs: 18. Cian Bolger (for 15. Aaron Donnelly, 68’), 7. Daniel Kearns (for 5. Fuad Sule, 82’); not used: 66. Jack McIntyre (GK), 3. Graham Kelly, 16. Shea Gordon, 25. Dylan Sloan, 30. Matthew Lusty
Goals: 9. Paul O’Neill (33’), 11. Ben Doherty (P) (90+6’)
Yellow cards: None
Referee: Andrew Davey