Newry City Reserves 1 Glenavon Reserves 5

The Showgrounds, Newry

Monday 28th August 2023

Glenavon Reserves defeated Newry City Reserves 5-1 to take three points in its fourth U-20 Development League fixture of the season.

Cohen Henderson (10, 29, 50 mins), Harry Lynch (7 mins) and Jesse Turner (81 mins) scored the goals for Gary McAlister’s team. Daniel Hughes (25 mins) replied for the frontiersmen.

Glenavon Reserves’ starting eleven included first-team squad members Jackson Nesbitt, Jamie Doran, Harry Norton, Henderson and Lynch.

The Newry side also featured a number of senior players: Tom Murphy, Thomas Lockhart, Sean McCaul, Paul McGovern and Hughes.

Glenavon Reserves made a blistering start to the game. In the seventh minute defender Harry Lynch headed Cormac McNally’s corner-kick past Murphy.

Three minutes later Cohen Henderson scored a brilliant second. The 17-year-old controlled goalkeeper Josh Gracey’s long pass with a sublime touch and then beat the goalkeeper with an even better shot.

Newry pulled a goal back midway through the half. Gracey was recovering from injury when Thomas Lockhart crossed for experienced centre-forward Daniel Hughes to score with a well struck volley.

In the 29th minute Henderson restored the visitors’ two-goal advantage. Daniel Shiel did the spadework on the right. When he crossed, Cohen pounced to shoot past Murphy from 8 yards.  

After the break Glenavon Reserves continued to dominate. Harry Norton released Cohen Henderson with a neat pass and the Lurgan teenager completed his hat-trick with a crisp right foot shot. 

Newry City Reserves spurned a gilt-edged chance to reduce the arrears when captain Sean McCaul missed a penalty-kick in the 64th minute. Daniel Hughes was fouled by Gracey after making a penetrating run right through the middle of the Glenavon defence. McCaul shot to the goalkeeper’s right, but Gracey gathered the weak attempt at the base of the post.

Despite McCaul’s failure to score, the home side continued to push forward. Hughes chipped the ball from a tight angle narrowly, over the crossbar. Then substitute Emmanuel Ojo shot just wide. Finally, Hughes dribbled the ball to the edge of the penalty area but shot over.

The visitors confirmed their dominance in the 81st minute. When Kian Mulholland’s shot was brilliantly saved by Murphy, the ball was worked to the right. Substitute Mattthew Hughes took a touch before delivering a well measured low cross for Jesse Turner to score from just outside the six-yard box.

Glenavon Reserves’ boss Gary McAlister was delighted with his team’s performance. “We were very good in every area,” he said. “The lads started the game brightly, dominated possession and played high up the pitch. When we got the ball down, we used it well and always looked dangerous.”

McAlister had warned his players beforehand about the threat posed by midfielder Thomas Lockhart and striker Hughes. “Thomas and Daniel are both very experienced Irish League players,” he continued. “Jamie [Doran] and Harry [Norton] in the middle of the field and Harry Lynch and Daniel Brown at the back needed to be at their best and they were. They are all young lads, but they played with maturity. It was very encouraging.”

McAlister had a special word for hat-trick hero, Cohen Henderson. “We all know the quality that Cohen brings,” he added. “He made some great runs and scored three great goals. His finish for the first, when he controlled the ball from Josh Gracey’s long kick and shot past the keeper, was outstanding.”

GLENAVON: Gracey, Harvey, Lynch, D. Brown, Woolsey, McNally, Doran, Norton, Nesbitt, Shiel, Henderson, SUBS: Mulholland for Henderson (67 mins), Turner for Nesbitt (62 mins), M. Hughes for Shiel (62 mins), Jones for Doran (67 mins), McMaster for Woolsey (53 mins).