Glenavon Reserves 2 Dungannon Swifts’ Seconds 5

Mourneview Park, Lurgan

Monday 18th September 2023

Glenavon Reserves lost 5-2 against Dungannon Swifts’ Seconds in a pulsating Development League fixture. Both teams played constructive football, pushed forward and scored goals.

Tomas Galvin (45+1, 90, 90+3 mins) and Aidan Hegarty (29, 42 mins) were the men on target for the young Swifts.

Cohen Henderson (27 mins) and Daniel Shiel (58 mins) found the net for the home side.

Dungannon was the better team for most of the first half and deserved its half-time lead. Glenavon improved during the second period. It was searching for an equaliser when the visitors scored twice in the closing minutes to put a gloss on the result.

The Stangmore Park side almost took an early lead when Tomas Galvin broke clear on the left and tested Josh Gracey with a well struck low shot. The teenage goalkeeper managed to keep the ball out with a firm hand.

Glenavon went close in the 17th minute. Cohen Henderson crossed superbly from the right for Jesse Turner to direct a header against the inside of a post. Daniel Shiel picked up the loose ball but shot over the crossbar.

The home side took the lead when Turner made space on the right and found Henderson on the edge of the six-yard box. The Lurgan teenager skilfully guided the ball into the net with his right-foot.

Jesse Turner, one of the most talented members of the Reserves’ eleven, released Shiel with a well weighted pass and the centre-forward let fly with his right foot. Adam Ritchie did well to get a hand to the ball and guide it wide of a post. From the resultant corner-kick, left back Adam Davidson’s goal-bound effort was blocked by a defender and kicked clear.

Dungannon, playing incisive, on-the-ground football, equalised following a brilliant three-man attacking move. Galvin found Joseph Moore on the right, and he hit an early cross which Aidan Hegarty fired into the net at the far post.

Moore, who posed a constant threat on the right-wing, unloaded a fine shot which Josh Gracey dived to save.

The visitors took the lead just before half-time when left winger Hegarty dribbled the ball into the penalty area and shot past a plethora of defenders into the corner of the net.

Galvin almost scored a third when he cut in from the right and unloaded a powerful close-range attempt which the Glenavon goalkeeper saved brilliantly.

The Swifts made the score 3-1 in first half injury time. Hegarty was fouled inside the 18-yard box by Daniel Brown. Tomas Galvin sent Gracey the wrong way from the spot.

Dungannon started the second half on the attack. Aidan Hegarty shot low and hard from 15 yards forcing the Lurgan Blues’ goalkeeper to make another fine save.

Glenavon Reserves pulled a goal back in the 59th minute when Daniel Dillon, less than a minute after replacing Johnny McCullough, threaded a pass which Daniel Shiel confidently stroked past Ritchie from 15 yards.

Encouraged by the goal, the home side secured a greater share of possession and pushed more men forward. However, it’s attack did not have the same cutting edge as its opponent and created relatively few clear-cut openings.

Dungannon continued to threaten when it worked the ball into the final third. Steven Scott and Galvin combined well. When the latter crossed from the right, Andrew Whiteside blasted the ball over the crossbar from point-blank range.

The Stangmore Park outfit secured all three points in the final minute when Galvin pounced on the loose ball after Gracey had saved from Scott and shot into the net.

Galvin completed his hat-trick in the third minute of added time when he found space behind the home defence and confidently stroked the ball home.

 “I thought that we played much better in the second half than we did in the first,” said Jack Ross, Glenavon Reserves’ boss pro term. “We made some bad mistakes before half-time and were punished for them. But the lads continued to play good football and push forward.”

“Dungannon is an older, more experienced side,” Ross continued. “It was frustrating to concede twice right at the end. Overall, there is plenty for us to work on but, despite the result, there were some positives.”

GLENAVON: Gracey, Harvey, Davidson, D. Brown, Woolsey, McNally, McCullough, Hynes, Shiel, Henderson, Turner, SUBS: McMaster for Shiel (80 mins), Dillon for McCullough (58 mins), Hughes for Turner (73 mins), Jones for Hynes (80 mins), Mulholland for Henderson (73 mins).