Glenavon 2-1 Glentoran
Danske Bank Premiership
Tuesday 8th November 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Glenavon’s impressive run of form continued on Tuesday night as they secured a stunning 2-1 victory over high-flying Glentoran at Mourneview Park.
The Glens went into the game as league leaders, and when Aidan Wilson headed them in front in first-half stoppage time it looked a safe bet they would end the night still in top spot.
The Lurgan Blues had other ideas, however, and a quickfire double from substitutes Micheal Glynn and Aaron Prendergast midway through the second half handed Mick McDermott’s side their first defeat of the season and ensured Glenavon picked up their third win in the last four games.
Glentoran unsurprisingly started the stronger of the two sides, but they struggled to make their possession advantage count in the opening minutes of the match. In fact, it wasn’t until the 20th minute when they first threatened as a Hrvoje Plum corner was turned goalward. Conor Kerr did well to head the ball away on the line.
Four minutes after that Wilson had a pop at goal from distance following a good spell of Glentoran possession, but his shot went high and wide.
Former Glenavon striker Danny Purkis thought he had given Glentoran the lead when he bundled the ball into the net on 29 minutes. Plum whipped over a free kick which was headed on by Conor McMenamin and kept alive by Wilson, but the linesman raised his flag to rule it out for offside after Purkis had forced the ball over the line.
Sean Ward, who was named sponsor’s man of the match, defended superbly in the 32nd minute to clear a wicked low cross that Shay McCartan sent in from the right after he had been picked out by a brilliant cross-field pass from Glens captain Patrick McClean.
Glenavon’s threat was minimal in the first half, although Eoin Bradley did flash the ball across the face of goal and just beyond the head of Josh Doyle on 38 minutes.
Just when it looked like the Lurgan Blues would go into the half-time break level, up popped Wilson to give the Glens the lead in the second minute of first-half stoppage time. McMenamin took a corner from the right and swung it over to the far post. Wilson rose above both Bradley and Glenavon captain Danny Wallace and powered his header into the net to break the deadlock.
Purkis had a goal ruled out for offside for a second time four minutes after the restart. Bobby Burns played McMenamin in on the left and he crossed for Purkis to tap in from close range, but again the linesman denied him with the raised flag.
Josh Doyle got his head to a Peter Campbell free kick at the other end a minute later, but he was unable to direct his effort on target.
Glenavon had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the deficit to one goal in the 53rd minute. Rory Brown dived down to his right to make a super save to keep out a Purkis header after the striker had been picked out by McMenamin with a cross from the right flank.
Ward tried to catch McCarey out in the Glentoran goal with a shot from a drop-ball restart on 56 minutes, but the effort drifted harmlessly wide in the end.
Gary Hamilton made a double substitution on the hour mark when he brought Micheal Glynn and Aaron Prendergast on to replace Conor McCloskey and Josh Doyle, and this proved to be the pivotal moment of the game.
It was Glynn who drew Glenavon level eight minutes after his introduction. Kerr was gifted the ball on the right by a poor clearance from Ruaidhri Donnelly and the full-back took full advantage by floating an inviting cross to the far post. Glynn showed great determination to beat Rhys Marshall to the ball and nod into the net to make it 1-1.
The equaliser really spurred Glenavon on, and suddenly the impetus was with the home side. Prendergast went down in the Glentoran box on 71 minutes and there were appeals for a penalty, but referee Evan Boyce was uninterested.
The young striker was to make his mark just a minute after he was denied a penalty, though. Glentoran struggled to clear the ball after Glenavon had taken a short corner, and Kerr picked it up and drove forward before spreading a pass out to Andy Doyle on the right. The substitute drove the ball into the penalty area, where Wilson got a boot to it, but he could only turn it into the path of Glynn. The number three struck his shot well with his left foot, and when McCarey was unable to hold it, Prendergast pounced, prodding the ball into the corner from inside the six-yard box to complete a remarkable turnaround.
Glentoran didn’t threaten as much in the closing stages of the game as many would have expected, although Andy Doyle did have to make an important block to stop a McMenamin shot from troubling Brown in the Glenavon goal in the 80th minute.
In the end, the home side held on fairly comfortably to secure a huge victory, extending their unbeaten run to four matches in the process.
It’s another big game on Saturday (12th November) for Glenavon, as they travel to Windsor Park to take on the other half of the Big Two, Linfield. The reigning Premiership champions sit two places above the Lurgan Blues in the table in fifth spot, and Gary Hamilton’s men will go into the encounter knowing that a victory could bring them to within one point of David Healy’s side. Kick-off is at 3pm.
MATCH SPONSOR – Triangle GSC
BALL SPONSOR – Jack Pringle
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Hubert Watson
Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown, 2. Conor Kerr, 4. Calum Birney, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 10. Peter Campbell, 16. Isaac Baird, 17. Conor McCloskey, 23. Daniel Wallace (C), 26. Joshua Doyle, 30. Sean Ward, 80. Eoin Bradley
Subs: 6. Andrew Doyle (for 4. Calum Birney, 51’), 3. Micheal Glynn (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 60’), 21. Aaron Prendergast (for 26. Joshua Doyle, 60’); not used: 8. Michael O’Connor, 20. Conor Scannell, 24. Jamie Doran, 28. Robert Garrett
Goals: 3. Micheal Glynn (68’), 21. Aaron Prendergast (72’)
Yellow cards: 2. Conor Kerr (28’), 30. Sean Ward (37’), 6. Andrew Doyle (66’), 16. Isaac Baird (74’), 10. Peter Campbell (90+3’)
Glentoran: 37. Aaron McCarey (GK), 5. Aidan Wilson, 6. Bobby Burns, 7. Seamus McCartan, 8. Rhys Marshall, 10. Ruaidhri Donnelly, 12. James Singleton, 15. Patrick McClean (C), 22. Daniel Purkis, 24. Conor McMenamin, 27. Hrvoje Plum
Subs: 9. Jay Donnelly (for 22. Daniel Purkis, 59’), 17. Terry Devlin (for 27. Hrvoje Plum, 59’), 11. Alistair Roy (for 10. Ruaidhri Donnelly, 76’), 3. Marcus Kane (for 12. James Singleton, 82’); not used: 25. Oliver Webber (GK), 4. Luke McCullough, 14. Sean Murray
Goals: 5. Aidan Wilson (45+2’)
Yellow cards: 15. Patrick McClean (43’)
Referee: Evan Boyce