Coleraine 1-3 Glenavon

Match report courtesy of Michael Scott, 

Glenavon are up and running in this season’s Danske Bank Premiership with a deserved victory over Coleraine.

Missing four players through suspension, as well as Andy Hall and Michael O’Connor, there probably wouldn’t have been many who would have given the Lurgan Blues a chance against the team who were top of the league prior to kick off.

However, with a noisy travelling support giving their vocal support throughout, Gary Hamilton’s men bossed the game – and that’s not being disingenuous to their opponents.

Glenavon only put one foot wrong, conceding a penalty which levelled the scores up before the break, but other than that the Glenavon boss won’t have much to complain about.

Peter Campbell had many of the early chances, firstly when a corner fell to the winger on 10 minutes but he couldn’t direct his shot on target.

Moments later, Matthew Shevlin played the ball in to the lively Jamie Glackin. He cut inside and shot low from the edge of the box. Rory Brown got down low and saved.

On 16 minutes Campbell burst into the box, looking to carve Glenavon’s next opportunity. This time his effort hit the side netting.

The same player got onto the end of a Conor McCloskey cross on 22 minutes, only to head wide. You had to feel that a goal was coming as Glenavon were overrunning Coleraine all over the park.

And so it was to be on 24 minutes. McCloskey chipped the ball in towards Matthew Fitzpatrick, who pulled the ball back to Campbell. He let the ball run across him, took the shot on his left foot, and curled the ball into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.

Six minutes before the break Coleraine were given the opportunity to level things up from the penalty spot. Shevlin looked to race on to a ball over the top of the defence. Rory Brown rushed out and took the speedy forward out, earning a booking for his troubles. Matthew Shevlin stroked the ball home to make it 1-1.

The Bannsiders then enjoyed a spell of pressure before the break but didn’t make anything of their possession.

It served as a warning call for Glenavon, who came out looking to get back on top. Three minutes after the restart they did just that through Robbie Garrett. He tried his luck from around 25-30 yards out, with his effort taking a deflection on the way before curling in off the post.

McCloskey could have added a third on 52 minutes from a free kick on the edge of the box but his shot went narrowly over the bar.

Fitzpatrick will be wondering how he didn’t add to his tally a couple of minutes later when the impressive Issac Baird dinked the ball forward but the striker couldn’t find the target.

Glenavon were awarded a free kick on 55 minutes inside the box when Coleraine keeper Martin Gallagher picked up a back pass. Campbell rolled it to Fitzpatrick, but his powerful drive was deflected wide.

However he made no mistake just after the hour mark. A ball over the top falls kindly for the former Coleraine forward who made no mistake from close range. Happy days for the Lurgan Blues.

Matthew Snoddy could have killed the game off on 68 minutes with a speculative volley from 20 yards out, but it failed to test Gallagher.

Conor McKendry curled a shot towards goal but Brown plucked what proved to be a rare chance for the home team out of the air. Glenavon went up the other end and almost found the net themselves when Fitzpatrick shot after being set up by McCloskey, however it wasn’t to be.

Brown pulled off two great saves inside the final 15 minutes, denying Shevlin from close range on both occasions, but the big shot stopper was not in any mood to be beating.

In between those Coleraine felt they should have had a penalty for a handball against Danny Wallace, but referee Shane Andrews waved play on.

In the end Glenavon saw the game out to claim all three points. Next up are newly-promoted Newry City who will be out to make their mark in the early stages of the Premiership season. Kick-off on Tuesday night at Mourneview Park is at 7.45pm.

Coleraine: Gallagher, Kane, D Jarvis, Brown, Carson, Farren, Lynch, Glackin, E McLaughlin, McDermott, Shevlin. Subs: Deane, A Jarvis (Carson 69), McKendry (Farren 61), J McLaughlin (E McLaughlin 61), McCrudden (Brown 82), O’Donnell, O’Mahony (Lynch 69).

Goals: Shevlin 40 (pen)

Glenavon: Brown, Glynn, Haughey, Snoddy, Fitzpatrick, Campbell, Baird, McCloskey, Wallace, Garrett, Ward. Subs: Kerr, Norton, Scannell, Prendergast (Fitzpatrick 91), Carey, Doran (Snoddy 82), J Doyle.

Goals: Campbell 24, Garrett 48, Fitzpatrick 62

Booking: Brown 39, Baird 53, Glynn 68, Haughey 91

Referee: Shane Andrews