Glenavon 0-1 Larne

Danske Bank Premiership

Mourneview Park

Friday 2nd December 2022

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon were undone by a late Larne goal for the second time this season at Mourneview Park on Friday evening as the league leaders grabbed a 1-0 victory.

Back in August former Lurgan Blue Ben Doherty scored from the penalty spot with virtually the last kick of the game to secure the Inver Reds a 2-1 win against the nine men of Glenavon.

On this occasion it was another former Glenavon player who was involved in the game’s decisive moment, with substitute Daniel Kearns swinging over the corner that led to Sean Ward unfortunately heading the ball into his own net on 80 minutes.

Glenavon started the game brightly, and Conor McCloskey nearly saw his corner go straight into the net in the second minute, but Larne goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson was alert enough to make the save.

Four minutes after that, Snoddy hit the target with a shot from distance, but the effort lacked any venom.

Larne responded on eight minutes when Doherty broke down the left and struck a low shot with his left foot which found the target, but it was a routine save for Rory Brown in the Glenavon goal.

Calum Birney did well in the 21st minute to cut out a low Paul O’Neill cross from the left.

Birney was involved again eight minutes later. He won the ball high up the pitch and fed Peter Campbell. The winger’s low left-foot shot went narrowly wide of Ferguson’s right-hand post.

Mark Haughey was forced off three minutes before the break with what looked like a knee injury. Michael O’Connor came on to replace the Glenavon captain, and the game remained goalless at half-time.

Larne improved in the second half. Doherty nipped past Ward on 48 minutes before hitting the target with a well-struck shot. Brown made the save but failed to gather the ball. Danny Wallace was on hand to clear the danger, however.

In a similar incident to the McCloskey one at the start of the game, Larne’s Shea Gordon came close to finding the net directly from a corner in the 52nd minute, but Brown managed to tip the ball away from just beneath his crossbar.

Birney made another important interception for Glenavon just after the hour mark, this time denying Leroy Millar after Doherty had attempted to square the ball to him.

On 66 minutes a nice passing move from the Lurgan Blues created a shooting opportunity for Isaac Baird. The young midfielder’s shot from just outside the box with his right foot was dipping below the crossbar, and Ferguson had to make a smart save to tip it over.

O’Neill threatened twice for the visitors as the game entered the closing stages. First, on 71 minutes, he fired a shot over the bar from 20 yards, while six minutes after that he found the net after having been played through by Fuad Sule, but that strike was ruled out for offside.

Kearns picked out Albert Watson with a cross from the right in the 79th minute. The defender’s header deflected off a Glenavon player and went behind for a corner.

Larne’s winner was to arrive as a result of that corner. Kearns took an inswinger from the left and Ward rose to try and head clear. Instead, the Glenavon defender only managed to direct the ball past Brown and into his own net.

Larne might have sealed their win on a couple of occasions in the dying minutes of the game. Kearns laid the ball out to the overlapping Tomas Cosgrove on the right flank on 85 minutes. The Larne captain’s cross found O’Neill, but he could only head wide of the near post.

In the final minute of normal time, O’Neill battled his way into the Glenavon box with a strong run, and the ball eventually ran invitingly to Millar. The midfielder skied his shot over the bar when well placed.

Glenavon’s only real chance to find an equaliser was via a free kick deep into stoppage time. After the dust had settled following a melee which saw referee Christopher Morrison brandish four yellow cards, it was Micheal Glynn who stepped up to strike the free kick from a central position, but Glynn’s left foot let him down on this occasion, as the ball sailed harmlessly wide of the Larne goal, and so the game finished 1-0 to the league leaders.

Glenavon are on the road next Saturday (10th December), and another tough game awaits Gary Hamilton’s men, as they travel to the Oval to take on a Glentoran team that currently occupies third place in the Danske Bank Premiership table. Kick-off will be at 3pm.

MATCH SPONSOR – McCleary and Co. Accountants

BALL SPONSOR – Lord Mayor Paul Greenfield

MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – The Sinnamon Family

Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown, 3. Micheal Glynn, 4. Calum Birney, 5. Mark Haughey (C), 7. Matthew Snoddy, 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 10. Peter Campbell, 16. Isaac Baird, 17. Conor McCloskey, 23. Daniel Wallace, 30. Sean Ward

Subs: 8. Michael O’Connor (for 5. Mark Haughey, 42’), 80. Eoin Bradley (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 76’), 29. Jack Malone (for 16. Isaac Baird, 81’), 21. Aaron Prendergast (for 10. Peter Campbell, 81’); not used: 2. Conor Kerr, 20. Conor Scannell, 26. Joshua Doyle

Goals: None

Yellow cards: 1. Rory Brown (90+5’), 3. Micheal Glynn (90+5’), 4. Calum Birney (90+6’)

Larne: 1. Rohan Ferguson (GK), 4. Albert Watson, 5. Fuad Sule, 9. Paul O’Neill, 11. Ben Doherty, 15. Aaron Donnelly, 16. Shea Gordon, 18. Cian Bolger, 21. Leroy Millar, 23. Tomas Cosgrove (C), 30. Matthew Lusty

Subs: 24. Jeff Hughes (for 16. Shea Gordon, 56’), 7. Daniel Kearns (for 30. Matthew Lusty, 56’); not used: 66. Jack McIntyre (GK), 3. Graham Kelly, 14. Andrew Scott, 17. Max Hutchison, 26. Dylan Sloan

Goals: Own goal (30. Sean Ward, 80’)

Yellow cards: 21. Leroy Millar (58’), 15. Aaron Donnelly (90+5’)

Referee: Christopher Morrison