Glenavon 0-1 Cliftonville
Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 17th September 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Glenavon’s wait for a first home league win of the season continues after they lost 1-0 to Cliftonville at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Lurgan Blues defended resolutely for most of the match, but they were eventually undone in the 82nd minute when Ronan Hale converted from a free kick.
Kris Lowe almost broke through for the visitors in the fifth minute following a Joe Gormley pass, but Glenavon defenders were able to snuff out the threat.
A minute later at the other end, Sean Ward took a throw-in on the left and Calum Birney flicked the ball on with his head. It just needed a touch from a Glenavon player, but nobody could provide it and Cliftonville goalkeeper Nathan Gartside was able to gather the ball.
Gartside’s opposite number Rory Brown was called into action in the ninth minute. Hale flicked the ball over Danny Wallace’s head before hitting a powerful shot on the half volley. Brown dived to his left to make the save.
Brown made an even better stop five minutes later. This time it was Chris Gallagher who struck a low shot. Brown dived down to his right to make the save and gathered the ball at the second attempt before a Cliftonville player could follow up.
Micheal Glynn broke through on the left for Glenavon on 23 minutes. He elected to shoot from a narrow angle and saw his effort saved by Gartside when an attempt to square the ball for a teammate would surely have been the better option to take.
Glynn did cross from the left just a minute later, picking out Matthew Fitzpatrick at the back post. The striker sent a shot across the face of goal when he would have been expecting to hit the target, but it didn’t matter in the end anyway because the linesman had raised his flag for offside.
In the 34th minute Wallace did well to head the ball clear from his own six-yard box after Hale had sent over a cross from the left flank.
Glynn was involved again on 36 minutes. His effort was similar to Hale’s earlier in the game, in that he flicked the ball over the head of Jonny Addis to fashion a shooting chance for himself, but his effort with his weaker right foot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Two minutes after that, Eoin Bradley laid the ball off to strike partner Fitzpatrick, but he dragged his low left-foot shot wide of the far post.
What was probably the best opportunity of the first half fell to Hale five minutes before the break. He was picked out with a superb right-to-left cross-field pass from Ronan Doherty.After Hale had fought his way past Ward it looked certain that he would score, but he could only steer his low shot wide of the far post, and the game remained scoreless until half-time.
Cliftonville upped their game in the second period and put Glenavon under plenty of pressure. Chris Curran latched onto a loose ball on 52 minutes after Mark Haughey had headed clear for Glenavon. The Cliftonville captain flashed his shot over the crossbar.
The visitors very nearly broke the deadlock three minutes later. Curran’s namesake Ryan played a one-two with Luke Turner before striking a shot from 20 yards. The ball deflected off Wallace and cannoned off the crossbar, with Brown clearly beaten.
Wallace threatened at the other end on the hour mark. He appeared to attempt a cross, but instead he found the target and Gartside was forced to tip the ball behind for a corner.
Cliftonville continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession as the second half wore on, but Glenavon frustrated the visitors with a stubborn defensive display right up until the 82nd minute.
The Reds won a free-kick on the edge of the ‘D’ when Jack Malone was adjudged to have fouled Chris Curran. Doherty stepped over the ball to leave Hale with the responsibility of shooting, and he accepted it with aplomb, curling a low shot past the wall and into the bottom left-hand corner, leaving Brown rooted to the spot.
The late goal was a sickening blow for Glenavon, and the Lurgan Blues didn’t really muster a meaningful chance to equalise in the closing minutes of the game as Cliftonville held on to secure a victory that saw them move up to second spot in the Danske Bank Premiership standings.
Gary Hamilton’s men were due to take on Glentoran at Mourneview Park next Friday night (23rd September), but that fixture has been postponed due to international call-ups in the Glentoran camp, meaning Glenavon’s next game will now be a trip to Shamrock Park the following Friday evening (30thSeptember) to take on Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown. Kick-off for that one will be at 7:45pm.
MATCH SPONSOR – Lockton Insurance
BALL SPONSOR – Tandragee Sewing Machines
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Jack Pringle
Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown (GK), 3. Micheal Glynn, 4. Calum Birney, 5. Mark Haughey (C), 8. Michael O’Connor, 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 16. Isaac Baird, 23. Daniel Wallace, 29. Jack Malone, 30. Sean Ward, 80. Eoin Bradley
Subs: 21. Aaron Prendergast (for 80. Eoin Bradley, 57’), 17. Conor McCloskey (for 8. Michael O’Connor, 71’), 26. Joshua Doyle (for 3. Micheal Glynn, 89’), 20. Conor Scannell (for 4. Calum Birney, 89’); not used: 7. Matthew Snoddy, 22. Sean Carey, 28. Robert Garrett
Yellow cards: 29. Jack Malone (90+1’)
Cliftonville: 16. Nathan Gartside (GK), 4. Jonathan Addis, 6. Christopher Gallagher, 7. Christopher Curran (C), 9. Ryan Curran, 13. Kris Lowe, 17. Ronan Doherty, 19. Joseph Gormley, 24. Luke Turner, 25. Ronan Hale, 26. Colin Coates
Subs: 11. Jamie McDonagh (for 7. Chris Curran, 74’), 38. Sean Moore (for 19. Joseph Gormley, 74’), 22. Odhran Casey(for 25. Ronan Hale, 86’); not used: 1. Fynn Talley (GK), 14. Jamie Robinson, 21. Gerard Storey, 28. Stephen McGuinness
Goals: 25. Ronan Hale (82’)
Yellow cards: 25. Ronan Hale (82’)
Referee: Tim Marshall