Glenavon 3 Banbridge Town 0

Mid-Ulster Cup, First Round

Mourneview Park, Lurgan

Monday 4th September 2023

Glenavon advanced to the second round of the Mid-Ulster Cup with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Banbridge Town.

Robbie Garrett (3 mins), Aaron Prendergast (11 mins) and Colin Oppong (26 mins) scored the goals for Gary Hamilton’s side.

Oppong and New Zealander Adam Davidson made first team debuts.

Both Sean Ward and Niall Quinn returned after injury and played for 61 minutes with no apparent ill effects.

Glenavon completely dominated the first half.

Robbie Garrett opened the scoring when he beat Joshua Hannon from 20 yards with a well struck low drive following good work on the left by Adam Davidson.

Seven minutes later the influential Davidson exchanged passes with Jack Malone before shooting narrowly wide.

Aaron Prendergast, playing on the left, increased Glenavon’s lead when he skilfully controlled Cohen Henderson’s cross before shooting into the net from 8 yards.

Colin Oppong, strong and quick, found Jack Malone at the far post with a low cross but the former Derry City midfielder’s close-range attempt was blocked.

Andy Mooney and Cohen Henderson both shot wide, and Niall Quinn’s left foot drive was deflected past a post as the home side continued to monopolise possession and dictate the play.

Glenavon took a 3-0 lead when Prendergast made a brilliant break on the left and crossed to the near post. Both Andy Mooney and Colin Oppong tried to reach the ball. Both failed. However, Matthew Rendina’s attempted clearance cannoned off Oppong and flew past Hannon.

In the 32nd minute Oppong produced the best cross of the night. The former Ipswich Town and Salford City forward made a marauding run along the right flank and drove the ball hard and low across the face of goal. Aaron Prendergast pounced at the far post, but his effort was brilliantly saved by Hannon.

The catalogue of Glenavon goal attempts continued.

Prendergast had two efforts blocked in the same attacking move; Jack Malone’s free kick attempt was saved; and Andy Mooney’s header from Niall Quinn’s corner thudded against the crossbar.

Robbie Garrett, Glenavon’s “Player of the Match,” hit a sumptuous 40 yard cross-field pass to Aaron Prendergast. The 19-year-old, standing 18 yards out, met it on the full but somehow Hannon kept it out.

Banbridge’s only noteworthy goal attempt in the opening 45 minutes was a 20-yard free kick from Stephen McCavitt which Ben Purvis saved at the base of a post.

Glenavon was less fluent during the second half but continued to dominate.

Aaron Prendergast blasted the ball wide. Then he shot straight at Joshua Hannon.

Adam Davidson won the ball high up the pitch and set Jack Malone on his way. However, the midfielder’s effort was blocked and cleared.

Banbridge threatened with occasional breakaways. Its best attempt came in the 76th minute when Stephen McCavitt burst through on the right, dribbled the ball past Purvis but hit the crossbar with his shot.

Ryan Gourley supplied a cross to the back post which substitute Favour Kwelele drilled wide.

In the closing seconds Stephen McCavitt again broke clear but delayed his shot and Purvis gathered the ball.

GLENAVON: Purvis, Kerr, Ward, Quinn, Davidson, Garrett, Malone, Prendergast, Henderson, Oppong, Mooney, SUBS: Gracey (not used), Murphy (not used), Hynes (not used), Savage for Prendergast (78 mins), Woolsey for Ward (61 mins) and McShane for Quinn (56 mins).

Yellow Cards: None.

BANBRIDGE TOWN: Hannon, Rendina, McKeown, Gallagher, M. McCavitt, S. McCavitt, Downey, Gourley, J. Shearer, Hamilton, P. Shearer, SUBS: Balchin (not used), Campbell for Downey (54 mins), Kwelele for P. Shearer (72 mins), Doyle for J. Shearer (16 mins), Vaughan (not used), Deeney (not used), Francisco (not used).

Yellow Cards: Doyle (59’).

REFEREE: Jason McClelland.