Glenavon 1-3 Newry City

Sports Direct Premiership

Mourneview Park

Saturday 19th August 2023

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon’s poor start to the season continued on Saturday as they lost 3-1 at home to Newry City, a fourth successive defeat for the Lurgan Blues.

Lorcan Forde opened the scoring for the visitors 10 minutes before half-time with a low shot after holding off the challenge of Isaac Baird, while Adam Salley doubled the Newry lead three minutes into the second period when he converted from close range following a Jordan Mooney cross.

Peter Campbell pulled a goal back for Glenavon on 78 minutes, heading home from a Jack Malone free kick.

Any hopes of a comeback from the hosts were wiped out four minutes from time, however, when substitute Brian Healy slotted past Rory Brown after a swift counterattack to seal the three points for City.

Glenavon saw more of the ball in the opening exchanges without being able to create any clear-cut opportunities.

They did win a free kick in a threatening position in the 11th minute, but Aaron Prendergast’s subsequent shot from the set piece went into the Newry wall.

Young Prendergast nearly had another shooting opportunity seven minutes later when Conor McCloskey attempted to pick him out with a low cross from the right wing, but Newry defender Barney McKeown made a vital interception.

On 23 minutes, McCloskey swung in a dangerous corner from the left, but the ball was headed clear by Andrew Martin.

There were fairly vociferous appeals for a Newry penalty in the 33rd minute, particularly from manager Gary Boyle, when it appeared as though Glenavon’s Tiarnan Mulvenna might have handled the ball, but referee Keith Kennedy decided there was nothing doing.

The away side were to take the lead two minutes later. Salley rose to head on a goal kick before Adam Carroll deftly flicked the ball to Forde. The attacker nodded it into his path and stole a yard on Baird to create space for a shot, which he drilled along the ground, beyond the dive of Glenavon goalkeeper Brown, and into the bottom corner.

When Baird’s low shot from 20 yards out was comfortably saved by Newry goalkeeper Steven Maguire in the final minute of normal time in the first half, it was the Lurgan Blues’ first shot on target.

Having started the game with three at the back in the form of Baird, Danny Wallace and Calum Birney, Glenavon resorted to a back four in the second half, with Campbell and Matthew Snoddy taking up the fullback positions, and Baird moving up into midfield. Jack Malone was also brought on at half-time in place of Robert Garrett, who had picked up a caution in the first half. The substitution and change of shape did little to improve Glenavon’s fortunes at the beginning of the second half, however, as Newry doubled their lead just three minutes after the restart.

Campbell’s attempted clearance from the left-back position was poor, presenting the ball straight to Newry’s Mooney. The substitute fought off a challenge from McCloskey before beating Campbell and feeding the ball inside to Salley on the edge of the penalty area. Salley clipped a first-time return pass towards the byline for Mooney to run onto. Not only did he manage to keep the ball in play, but he also delivered an inviting cross into the six-yard box. Salley stole a march on Birney to leave himself with the simple task of firing home from a few yards out to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Glenavon tried to respond, but they were mostly restricted to efforts from distance. McCloskey dummied Newry captain Darren King out on the left flank to create space for himself in the 53rd minute. His curling right-foot shot looked as if it would have dipped in beneath the crossbar, only for Maguire to tip it behind for a corner.

Stephen Teggart fired his effort from distance well over the bar a minute after McCloskey’s shot had been saved.

Glenavon eventually did find their way back into the game on 78 minutes. Malone sent over an inswinging free kick from the left. Maguire came off his line and attempted to tip the ball away, but he couldn’t reach it, leaving Campbell to meet it at the back post and power his header into an empty net to reduce the home side’s deficit.

There was a bit of life about Glenavon at last following Campbell’s goal. Prendergast had a shot blocked in the 84th minute, and from the resulting corner Forde had to head the ball off the line after substitute Aaron Rogers had risen to challenge for Campbell’s delivery.

Just when it looked like the home side might find an equalising goal, it was the visitors who delivered a devastating counterpunch to seal victory. They broke with pace to release Brian Healy. Malone tried to get back to thwart him, but Healy simply sidestepped him to leave himself one-on-one with Brown, and the substitute coolly slotted the ball past the Glenavon goalkeeper and into the net to seal Newry’s second victory of the season.

Now without a point from their opening four matches of the campaign, it is vitally important that Glenavon get a result when they travel to newly promoted Loughgall on Friday night (25th August). Kick-off at Lakeview Park will be at 7:45pm.

MATCH SPONSOR – Edsel Muldrew

BALL SPONSOR – Tandragee Sewing Machines

MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – The Cellar Bar, Lurgan – Callum Birney

Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown (GK), 4. Calum Birney, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 10. Peter Campbell, 16. Isaac Baird, 17. Conor McCloskey, 20. Stephen Teggart, 21. Aaron Prendergast, 22. Tiarnan Mulvenna, 23. Daniel Wallace (C), 28. Robert Garrett

Subs: 8. Jack Malone (for 28. Robert Garrett, 46’), 3. Aaron Rogers (for 20. Stephen Teggart, 63’), 34. Cohen Henderson (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 63’), 24. Jamie Doran (for 7. Matthew Snoddy, 77’), 29. Jackson Nesbitt (for 22. Tiaran Mulvenna, 77’); not used: 2. Conor Kerr, 19. Andrew Mooney

Goals: 10. Peter Campbell (78’)

Yellow cards: 28. Robert Garrett (32’), 20. Stephen Teggart (55’), 16. Isaac Baird (90’)

Newry City: 1. Steven Maguire, 2. Darren King (C), 3. Noel Healy, 5. Barney McKeown, 7. Ciaran O’Connor, 8. Adam Carroll, 14. Adam Salley, 16. Liam Bagnall, 17. Andrew Martin, 24. Lorcan Forde, 39. Daragh Owens

Subs: 36. Jordan Mooney (for 16. Liam Bagnall, 46’), 19. Brian Healy (for 7. Ciaran O’Connor, 71’), 29. Brian Newell (for 14. Adam Salley, 71’), 49. Paul McGovern (for 8. Adam Carroll, 89’); not used: 31. Tom Murphy (GK), 15. Michael O’Connor, 38. Georgie Poynton

Goals: 24. Lorcan Forde (35’), 14. Adam Salley (48’), 19. Brian Healy (86’)

Yellow cards: 16. Liam Bagnall (29’), 5. Barney McKeown (76’), 7. Ciaran O’Connor (71’), 29. Brian Newell (83’)

Referee: Keith Kennedy