Newry City 0-1 Glenavon

Danske Bank Premiership

Newry Showgrounds

Saturday 4th March 2023

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon picked up a much-needed three points with a 1-0 win away to Newry City on Saturday afternoon.

The impressive Jamie Doran scored what proved to be the winning goal on 39 minutes when he drove the ball in from the night and Newry goalkeeper Niall Brady made a poor error which resulted in the ball going into his own net.

The victory was Glenavon’s first league win in 11 matches and opens up a healthy gap between themselves and the bottom three again.

Jack Malone nearly had a chance for the Lurgan Blues in the opening minute of the match, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.

Malone was involved again on eight minutes. This time Matthew Fitzpatrick took the ball away from Malone in the Newry box when the midfielder looked to be in a better position to take a shot. The ball eventually found its way to Robert Garrett outside the box, but his subsequent low shot was dragged wide of the target.

Two minutes later, a flicked header from Michael O’Connor released Fitzpatrick on the left. The Glenavon captain drove in a low cross, but he couldn’t pick out a teammate.

The visitors came very close to breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute. After the ball had been pulled back from the right, Malone beat Brady with his shot and found the target, only for full-back Dale Montgomery to clear the ball off the line.

Glenavon won a free kick in a threatening position a couple of minutes later. O’Connor had a pop at goal, but his shot drifted wide of the post.

Isaac Baird had a good game at the heart of the Glenavon midfield, and he sent a cross over from the right on 28 minutes which fell for Doran close to the penalty spot. The young attacker dragged his low shot wide of Brady’s right-hand post, however.

At the other end, on the half-hour mark, Ola Adeyemo was poised to pull the trigger inside the Glenavon penalty area until Aaron Rogers nicked the ball away from him at the crucial moment.

The deadlock was broken by Doran in the 39th minute. Matthew Snoddy slipped a pass into Doran on the right side of the Newry box. Glenavon’s number 24 struck first time what was most likely an attempted cross. It looked as though Brady was going to comfortably catch the ball, but the goalkeeper failed to hold it, instead inadvertently palming it over his head and into his own net to give the Lurgan Blues the lead.

The Newry keeper went some way to making amends for his error nine minutes into the second half when he saved a Fitzpatrick shot. Glenavon’s top scorer was teed up by Malone and struck a shot from the edge of the box, only for Brady to divert it behind for a corner with his legs.

Brady’s opposite number Rory Brown was called into action at the other end five minutes later when he had to push a John McGovern shot round the post.

McGovern was presented with another shooting chance in the 63rd minute following good work from Adeyemo. This time Snoddy was able to make the block.

Calum Birney made a super tackle to hook the ball away from Daniel Hughes two minutes later when the Newry striker was poised to break through on goal.

Baird read play well at the other end on 67 minutes to intercept a pass some 20 yards from goal and set himself up for a shot, but in the end his effort cleared the crossbar.

Newry’s left-back Noel Healy did well to thwart Doran with a sliding tackle after a cross had been sent in from the Glenavon left in the 81st minute.

Glenavon held on comfortably in the closing minutes to secure the victory and a very welcome three points.

With Ballymena United having been in Irish Cup action, this win sees Glenavon move level with the Sky Blues on 32 points. Gary Hamilton’s men move above David Jeffrey’s team into eighth place in the league standings by virtue of having the superior goal difference.

It’s back to the Oval next for the Lurgan Blues. Having picked up a creditable point away to Glentoran on Tuesday past, Glenavon will be hopeful of another positive result next Friday night (10th March) in a game that will be played in front of the BBC iPlayer cameras. Kick-off will be at 7:45pm.

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, 21. Philip Donnelly, 33. Donal Scullion, 35. Dale Montgomery, 45. Olajuwon Bamidele Adeyemo

Subs: 8. Declan Carville (for 9. Daniel Hughes, 70’), 40. Matthew Lusty (for 45. Olajuwon Bamidele Adeyemo, 70’), 19. Brian Healy (for 35. Dale Montgomery, 80’); not used: 11. Shane Halpenny (GK), 17. Andrew Martin, 22. Favour Kwelele, 42. Dylan Sloan

Goals: None

Yellow cards: 4. Ryan McGivern (89’)

Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown, 4. Calum Birney, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 8. Michael O’Connor, 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick (C), 16. Isaac Baird, 24. Jamie Doran, 25. Aaron Rogers, 28. Robert Garrett, 29. Jack Malone, 30. Sean Ward

Subs: 6. Andrew Doyle (for 4. Calum Birney, 71’), 17. Conor McCloskey (for 8. Michael O’Connor, 75’); not used: 18. Marc Matthews (GK), 15. Harry Lynch, 21. Aaron Prendergast, 23. Daniel Wallace, 80. Eoin Bradley

Goals: 24. Jamie Doran (39’)

Yellow cards: 17. Conor McCloskey (83’)

Referee: Raymond Crangle