Newry City 0-1 Glenavon
Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 15th April 2023
Match report by Calum Jones
Glenavon secured seventh spot and a place in the Euro play-offs with a 1-0 victory away to Newry City on Saturday thanks to a second-half goal from Jack Malone.
The Lurgan Blues’ win, coupled with Carrick Rangers’ 3-1 defeat to bottom club Portadown, means Gary Hamilton’s side now have an unassailable eight-point advantage over Rangers.
In a game that will not live long in the memory, Malone produced the decisive moment two minutes after the hour mark when he lashed the ball home following a Peter Campbell cross.
The home side had the better of it in the first half, and they came close to going ahead on 6 minutes when Glenavon’s Aaron Rogers nearly diverted the ball into his own net. From the resulting corner, the ball fell to Dale Montgomery, but he could only send his shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
The hosts might also have gone ahead four minutes later. Philip Donnelly curled in a corner from the left and captain Darren King directed a header on target. With Rory Brown stranded out of his goal, it needed a goal-line clearance from Robert Garrett to prevent Glenavon from falling behind.
Newry came even closer to breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute. Donal Scullion slipped a pass into Ola Adeyemo on the edge of the Glenavon penalty area. The striker took one touch to set himself and then fired a low right-foot shot towards goal. With Brown rooted to the spot, the ball struck the base of the goalkeeper’s right-hand post. Matthew Snoddy was able to pick up the rebound and clear.
Half an hour in, Ryan McGivern was picked out at the back post with a free kick from deep which was taken by Montgomery. The former Northern Ireland international sent his header into the six-yard box, probably in an attempt to find James Teelan, but Brown was able to dive and gather the ball safely.
Defender Calum Birney made a good interception in the 38th minute to cut out a long ball over the top which almost sent Adeyemo through on goal.
In the penultimate minute of the first half, Sean Ward did well to get a tackle in on Brian Healy to prevent him from getting a shot in, and so it remained goalless at the break.
There were strong appeals for a Glenavon penalty two minutes into the second half. Snoddy sent in a cross from the right which King did well to head away. The ball fell to Malone, and he struck a shot which his left foot which took a deflection off the boot of Dylan Sloan before striking King, who was still in the process of getting to his feet after making the earlier header. The ball appeared to hit King’s left arm, but referee Ben McMaster chose not to award a penalty, much to the consternation of Glenavon players and supporters.
At the other end in the 55th minute, Birney got an important block in to thwart Brian Healy.
Snoddy got forward more and more from right-back as the game wore on, and on 59 minutes he crossed to find Matthew Fitzpatrick. Glenavon’s leading goalscorer found the target with his header, but it lacked power and Newry goalkeeper Steven Maguire was able to make a comfortable save.
The game’s only goal arrived three minutes later. Isaac Baird rolled the ball out to Campbell on the left flank and the winger curled over a first-time cross with his left foot which found its way to Malone close to the penalty spot. The midfielder lashed in a right-foot shot to make it 1-0 to the Lurgan Blues.
Glenavon held on to their lead quite comfortably for the remainder of the game, and they may even have added a second goal in the 86th minute. A scramble in the Newry box saw the ball eventually fall to substitute Jamie Doran. The young midfielder got a shot away, but McGivern was able to block it and divert the ball behind for a corner.
With Carrick falling to defeat at Shamrock Park, Glenavon’s win means seventh place is now secured for the Lurgan Blues, and the clash between the two sides at Taylor’s Avenue next Saturday (22nd April) has taken on a different complexion. However, Gary Hamilton’s side will of course be keen to keep their excellent run of form going as they head towards the play-offs.
Newry City: 1. Steven Maguire (GK), 2. Darren King (C), 3. Noel Healy, 4. Ryan McGivern, 15. James Teelan, 19. Brian Healy, 21. Philip Donnelly, 33. Donal Scullion, 35. Dale Montgomery, 42. Dylan Sloan, 45. Olajuwon Bamidele Adeyemo
Subs: 9. Daniel Hughes (for 35. Dale Montgomery, 65’), 8. Declan Carville (for 45. Olajuwon Bamidele Adeyemo, 77’), 24. Lorcan Forde (for 15. James Teelan, 77’), 40. Matthew Lusty (for 42. Dylan Sloan, 85’); not used: 11. Shane Halpenny (GK), 18. Stephen Moan, 49. Paul McGovern
Yellow cards: None
Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown, 4. Calum Birney, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 8. Michael O’Connor, 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick (C), 10. Peter Campbell, 16. Isaac Baird, 25. Aaron Rogers, 28. Robert Garrett, 29. Jack Malone, 30. Sean Ward
Subs: 17. Conor McCloskey (for 10. Peter Campbell, 76’), 24. Jamie Doran (for 8. Michael O’Connor, 76’); not used: 18. Marc Matthews (GK), 2. Conor Kerr, 6. Andrew Doyle, 21. Aaron Prendergast, 34. Cohn Henderson
Goals: 29. Jack Malone (62’)
Yellow cards: 7. Matthew Snoddy (70’), 8. Michael O’Connor (72’), 4. Calum Birney (90+5’)
Referee: Ben McMaster