Glenavon 4-2 Carrick Rangers

Danske Bank Premiership

Mourneview Park

Saturday 22nd October 2022

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon turned in an impressive performance on Saturday afternoon as they defeated Carrick Rangers 4-2 at Mourneview Park.

Matthew Fitzpatrick opened the scoring for the Lurgan Blues in the 13th minute, only for Carrick to level the match just a minute later through an Andrew Mitchell screamer.

Eoin Bradley restored the home side’s lead when he headed home a Conor Kerr cross on 27 minutes, but the visitors hit back for a second time four minutes after the break when Lloyd Anderson struck from close range.

Glenavon found themselves in the lead for a third time when Jack Malone stroked home an impressive goal in the 82nd minute, and substitute Matthew Snoddy wrapped up the three points in injury time after he had been teed up by Peter Campbell.

After a quiet start, the game sparked into life in the 13th minute when Fitzpatrick opened the scoring. Conor Scannell whipped over a free kick from the left, Isaac Baird met the ball at the back post to head it back across goal and Calum Birney directed a header on target. Jim Ervin was able to prevent Birney’s effort from crossing the line, but his clearance only travelled as far as Fitzpatrick, who side-footed into the net from inside the six-yard box to put the Lurgan Blues ahead.

The lead was to last only a matter of moments, however, as Carrick found themselves level through a superb Mitchell strike. Captain David Cushley surged forward before spreading a pass out to Curtis Allen on the left. Allen carried the ball towards the Glenavon penalty area and then slipped a pass infield for Mitchell. The midfielder met the ball 20 yards from goal and hit a brilliant first-time strike with his right foot which left Glenavon goalkeeper Rory Brown rooted to the spot and flew into the far corner.

Scannell had a great chance to put Glenavon back into the lead on 19 minutes when sponsors’ man of the match Malone slipped a pass into him on the right side of the box. The young winger dragged his low shot wide of the left post when he should have worked Ross Glendinning in the Carrick goal.

Scannell was involved again five minutes later when he sent over a corner to find Birney, but the big defender could only head over the crossbar.

Glenavon won a free kick in a threatening position in the 26th minute. Malone stepped up to take it, but he couldn’t beat the wall with his shot.

The Lurgan Blues did find themselves in front again on 27 minutes. Campbell controlled the ball before turning and playing a pass out to Conor Kerr on the right flank. The right-back curled in an excellent first-time cross which was met by Bradley on the six-yard line and the striker headed home to make it 2-1.

Allen might have drawn Rangers level two minutes after Bradley’s goal, but Birney did well to get a block in and deny the striker.

Bradley had the ball in the net for a second time in the 31st minute when he turned it in after Campbell’s shot had been deflected, but the linesman raised his flag to rule out the effort for offside.

The away side had their goalkeeper to thank for denying Glenavon a third goal a minute before the break. Wallace crossed from the left to find Fitzpatrick, who hit the target with a volley, but Glendinning dived to his right to make a smart save.

Carrick threatened in the opening minute of the second half. The impressive Ben Tinley drove forward on the left before shooting at goal, but his low effort went wide of the far post.

The visitors did draw level on 49 minutes. Mitchell floated over a free kick from the right and Emmett McGuckin hit the target with a header. Sean Ward prevented McGuckin’s header from crossing the line, but Anderson pounced on the rebound and thumped home from point-blank range.

McGuckin hit the target again three minutes later with a shot. Brown wasn’t able to catch the ball, but he did succeed in deflecting it behind for a corner.

The game was finely poised as it entered the final 10 minutes, and it took a goal of real quality to break the equilibrium. Bradley picked the ball up deep on the right and played a nicely weighted pass inside, presenting Malone with the opportunity to shoot. The midfielder went for accuracy as opposed to power, and he beautifully slotted a low side-foot shot into the bottom corner with his right foot from 25 yards out to give Glenavon a 3-2 lead in the 82nd minute.

Substitute Snoddy sealed a much-needed three points for Glenavon in the opening minute of injury time. A long ball was hooked over the top of the Carrick defence to send Campbell clear. The winger cut back inside Kurtis Forsythe, with the Carrick full-back racing back to his goal-line to defend the net after Glendinning had come off his line to confront Campbell. Campbell kept a cool head and slipped the ball to Snoddy, who’d made a supporting run. The midfielder settled himself with a couple of touches before slotting past Forysthe to put the result beyond doubt.

This victory sees Glenavon move above Ballymena United into eighth place in the Premiership standings, and it is the Braidmen who visit Mourneview Park next Friday night (28th October). Kick-off will be at 7:45pm.

MATCH SPONSOR – SK Tree Services/Gareth Lough Joinery

BALL SPONSOR – Ian Malcomson

MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Barry Craig and Ethna Ferran

Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown, 2. Conor Kerr, 4. Calum Birney, 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 10. Peter Campbell, 16. Isaac Baird, 20. Conor Scannell, 23. Daniel Wallace (C), 29. Jack Malone, 30. Sean Ward, 80. Eoin Bradley

Subs: 17. Conor McCloskey (for 20. Conor Scannell, 74’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (for 80. Eoin Bradley, 83’); not used: 6. Andrew Doyle, 21. Aaron Prendergast, 24. Jamie Doran, 26. Joshua Doyle, 28. Robert Garrett

Goals: 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick (13’), 80. Eoin Bradley (27’), 29. Jack Malone (82’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (90+1’)

Yellow cards: 23. Daniel Wallace (48’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (87’)

Carrick Rangers: 1. Ross Glendinning (GK), 2. Kurtis Forsythe, 5. James Ervin, 6. Steven Gordon, 7. David Cushley (C), 8. Andrew Mitchell, 9. Emmett McGuckin, 10. Curtis Allen, 23. Reece Glendinning, 39. Ben Tilney, 42. Lloyd Anderson

Subs: 20. Kyle Cherry (for 7. David Cushley, 79’), 11. Alexander Gawne (for 23. Reece Glendinning, 83’), 3. Cameron Stewart (for 42. Lloyd Anderson, 87’); not used: 18. Aaron Hogg (GK), 4. Mark Surgenor, 14. Ronan Kalla, 24. Peter McKiernan

Goals: 8. Andrew Mitchell (15’), 42. Lloyd Anderson (49’)

Yellow cards: 9. Emmett McGuckin (37’), 5. James Ervin (63’), 20. Kyle Cherry (80’), 6. Steven Gordon (86’), 8. Andrew Mitchell (87’)

Referee: Shane Andrews