Glenavon 0-2 Newry City
Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 25th February 2023
Match report by Calum Jones
Glenavon’s dismal run of form continued on Saturday as they lost 2-0 at home to Newry City.
Both goals came in the first half, with Ola Adeyemo giving the visitors the lead on 24 minutes when he raced onto a Stephen Moan through-ball, before John McGovern doubled their advantage in the 38th minute after Glenavon failed to clear a cutback from the right.
Peter Campbell very nearly gave the Lurgan Blues the lead in spectacular fashion in the opening minute of the game when he hit a shot from more than 30 yards out with his left foot which shaved the top of the crossbar.
On six minutes, Noel Healy shot over the bar for Newry from 20 yards, while Stephen Moan positioned himself well to clear Jordan Stewart’s low cross from the right three minutes later, and a minute after that, Thomas Lockhart flashed a low shot across the face of goal for the away side.
Campbell broke into the Newry box on the right in the 17th minute before feeding Stewart. The winger’s shot was blocked, and the ball found its way back to Campbell. He managed to find the target with a shot as he fell to the ground, but it was a simple save for City goalkeeper Niall Brady.
McGovern got on the end of a corner for the visitors on 20 minutes, but he could only send his headed effort wide of the far post.
The deadlock was broken on 24 minutes. With players battling for the ball in front of the dugouts, eventually it fell to Moan. The full-back clipped a pass over the top of the Glenavon defence and into the right channel. Adeyemo ran onto the ball and took one touch to set himself before firing past the onrushing Rory Brown and into the net.
A Newry corner three minutes later resulted in a scramble in the Glenavon box, but Brown was eventually able to gather the ball.
Michael O’Connor was presented with a shooting chance for Glenavon in the 31st minute when the ball was laid back to him, but he fired well over the bar from outside the box.
Jamie Doran, who was named as sponsors’ man of the match, sent over a dangerous cross from the right on 33 minutes, but Matthew Fitzpatrick just couldn’t make the right contact with the ball to direct a shot on goal.
The same two players were involved again two minutes later. Doran played a one-two with Fitzpatrick to create a shooting opportunity, but in the end the young midfielder could only curl his shot over the bar.
Newry’s second goal arrived in the 38th minute. Moan fed a ball into the box to find the run of Philip Donnelly. The midfielder attempted to cut the ball back for Adeyemo, but Calum Birney did well to cut it out. However, when Birney attempted to clear, he only succeeded in finding the feet of McGovern, who controlled the ball before placing a lofted shot into the net with his left foot.
Glenavon saw a golden opportunity to halve their deficit go begging in the final minute of normal time at the end of the first half. They recycled the ball after an O’Connor corner from the left had been cleared. It was O’Connor himself who won a header to nod the ball down for Wallace. The Glenavon captain had the goal at his mercy from six yards out, but he blazed over the bar with his left foot.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton made a double substitution at the break, introducing Aaron Rogers and Isaac Baird in place of Conor Kerr and Birney, and the Lurgan Blues also changed formation, going to three at the back, in an effort to turn the tide of the game.
The home side did have an early half-chance to hit back in the opening minute of the second period when O’Connor’s corner found Andy Doyle, but the centre-half’s header went over the top.
Brown got away with one on 47 minutes when he hit an attempted clearance off Adeyemo. Luckily for the Glenavon goalkeeper, the ball ended up going behind for a goal kick rather than into the net.
Fitzpatrick went close to scoring a minute later when he broke in on the right side of the Newry penalty area. His shot from a tight angle struck the near post.
Doran crossed from the right in the 53rd minute and the ball drifted beyond the back post to find Robert Garrett. The midfielder shot wide of the post with his right foot.
Wallace had another good opportunity to score on 58 minutes. This time O’Connor picked him out with a cross from the right, but the defender’s header went narrowly wide.
In truth, Glenavon rarely looked like scoring in the closing stages of the game. There were appeals for a penalty when a Stewart shot was blocked deep into injury time, with Glenavon players and supporters imploring Christopher Morrison to point to the spot for a handball, but the referee was uninterested. By that stage, it would have been a case of too little too late for the Lurgan Blues anyway.
Glenavon remain in ninth place in the league standings, but this result does mean that 10th-placed Newry have closed the gap between the teams to just five points.
Tuesday night (28th February) sees the Lurgan Blues travel to the Oval to take on sixth-placed Glentoran (kick-off 7:45pm), while a return fixture against Newry next Saturday (4th March) (kick-off 3pm) will be a hugely important game.
MATCH SPONSOR – Triangle GSC
BALL SPONSOR – Head the Ball
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – The Kerr Family
Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown, 2. Conor Kerr, 4. Calum Birney, 6. Andrew Doyle, 8. Michael O’Connor, 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 10. Peter Campbell, 23. Daniel Wallace (C), 24. Jamie Doran, 28. Robert Garrett
Subs: 21. Aaron Prendergast (for 10. Peter Campbell, 22’), 25. Aaron Rogers (for 2. Conor Kerr, 46’), 16. Isaac Baird (for 4. Calum Birney, 46’), 80. Eoin Bradley (for 21. Aaron Prendergast, 68’), 29. Jack Malone (for 28. Robert Garrett, 68’); not used: 15. Harry Lynch, 18. Marc Matthews (GK)
Yellow cards: 23. Daniel Wallace (78’), 16. Isaac Baird (82’)
Newry City: 13. Niall Brady (GK), 2. Darren King (C), 3. Noel Healy, 4. Ryan McGivern, 9. Daniel Hughes, 10. Thomas Lockhart, 16. John McGovern, 18. Stephen Moan, 21. Philip Donnelly, 33. Donal Scullion, 45. Ola Adeyemo
Subs: 8. Declan Carville (for 45. Ola Adeyemo, 72’), 17. Andrew Martin (for 18. Stephen Moan, 83’); not used: 11. Shane Halpenny, 15. James Teelan, 19. Brian Healy, 40. Matthew Lusty, 42. Dylan Sloan
Goals: 45. Ola Adeyemo (24’), 16. John McGovern (38’)
Yellow cards: 4. Ryan McGivern (59’), 21. Philip Donnelly (77’), 13. Niall Brady (GK) (79’)
Referee: Christopher Morrison