Carrick Rangers 1-3 Glenavon

Sports Direct Premiership

Loughview Leisure Arena

Saturday 28th October 2023

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon moved off the bottom of the Sports Direct Premiership table with a 3-1 victory away to Carrick Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

Peter Campbell fired the Lurgan Blues ahead on 25 minutes when he drilled home a shot from 18 yards following a Niall Quinn corner.

Curtis Allen equalised for Rangers with a clever flicked finish in the 38th minute after good work down the left flank from Nedas Maciulaitis and Ben Tilney.

Campbell ensured Glenavon carried a lead into half-time when he grabbed his second goal of the game three minutes before the break, firing home from just inside the penalty area with his right foot.

Captain Niall Quinn wrapped up the precious three points for the Lurgan Blues in the 68th minute when he found the far corner with a brilliant right-foot shot from the left side of the box.

The home side finished the game with 10 men after Joe Crowe was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Robert Garrett on 72 minutes.

In a game that was played in heavy rain, it was Tilney who had the first meaningful effort with four minutes on the clock. The Carrick player went on a trademark mazy run before striking a low shot with his right foot. Glenavon goalkeeper Rory Brown had to dive down to his left to make the save.

Glenavon came within inches of grabbing the lead just two minutes later. The ball broke for Quinn and he cleverly back-heeled it to tee up Aaron Prendergast for a shot on the edge of the box. The young striker caught his effort well with his right foot, but he got just a bit too much elevation on the ball, and it clipped the top of the crossbar.

Isaac Baird hit the target with a shot from distance in the 11th minute, but it was straight at Carrick keeper Ross Glendinning.

The Lurgan Blues continued to push for an opener, and Campbell curled over a dangerous inswinging cross from the right on 24 minutes. Glendinning did well in the Carrick goal to punch the ball clear of danger.

The opening goal arrived just a minute later. Quinn drove in a low corner from the left. Prendergast initially attempted to get on the end of Quinn’s delivery, but the ball evaded him and found its way to Campbell, who had made a clever run to the edge of the box to create space for himself. The forward controlled the ball on his knee before drilling a low shot with his left foot which arrowed past the dive of Glendinning and into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.

The hosts were to be behind for just 13 minutes, and their equaliser was a goal of real quality. Danny Purkis played the ball out to the left to find Tilney, and he carried it over the halfway line before slipping a pass to Nedas Maciulaitis. Tilney continued with a forward run and received a return pass after overlapping Maciulaitis. The former Larne and Portadown player advanced into the penalty area on the left and pulled the ball back to find Allen inside the six-yard box. The striker produced a deft first-time flick with his left boot to steer the ball past Brown and into the net.

Glenavon were determined to restore their lead before half-time, and Danny Wallace came very close to getting on the end of a Quinn free kick at the far post two minutes after Allen’s goal.

The visitors did regain the lead in the 42nd minute. Quinn delivered a throw-in from the left which was flicked on by the head of Baird. The Carrick defence could only clear the ball as far as Campbell on the edge of the box. Glenavon’s number 10 did well to bring the ball under control with his first touch before firing a low shot into the net via his less favoured right foot with his second touch.

The home side might have grabbed a second equaliser in first-half stoppage time when they won a free kick in a threatening position. Captain David Cushley struck the shot from 20 yards out on the right side. His low left-foot effort was hit well and found the target, but Brown was equal to it, diving down to his right to tip the ball round the post.

Twelve minutes after the restart, Glenavon threatened to double their lead when Campbell played Prendergast in on goal. The striker’s shot was deflected behind for a corner after a Rangers defender recovered well to make a timely block.

Glenavon did find a third goal in the 68th minute. Jackson Nesbitt slid a pass across the box to try and pick out Campbell, but the attacker couldn’t quite connect with the ball on the stretch. Nesbitt’s fellow substitute Stephen Teggart picked up the loose ball close to the byline on the left side of the penalty area and played a pass back to Quinn. The Glenavon captain feinted with his left foot to deceive Reece Glendinning, then drove a brilliant shot with his right foot inside the far post to double the Lurgan Blues’ advantage.

Carrick were reduced to 10 men four minutes after Quinn’s goal when Crowe was shown a straight red card by referee Keith Kennedy for a rash tackle on Garrett. The Glenavon midfielder got to the ball just ahead of Crowe, and when the Carrick man caught Garrett high on his right leg, Kennedy felt he had no choice but to produce the red card.

The home team’s only real threat in the closing stages occurred on 84 minutes when substitute Emmett McGuckin poked a shot on target after there had been a bit of a scramble in the Glenavon box following a Purkis corner. Brown was able to safely gather the ball, though.

Glenavon might have added a fourth goal in stoppage time when Nesbitt got through one-on-one with Glendinning, but the goalkeeper made a smart save to deny the substitute, and so it finished 3-1 to the Lurgan Blues.

Glenavon’s second victory of the season over Carrick Rangers, and Stephen McDonnell’s first league win since taking over as manager, sees them move off the foot of the table and up into 10th place in the league standings.

Dungannon Swifts replace the Lurgan Blues at the bottom of the table following their 1-1 draw away at fellow strugglers Ballymena United on Saturday, and it is Rodney McAree’s side who will visit Lurgan next Saturday (4th November). Kick-off at Mourneview Park will be at 3pm.

Carrick Rangers: 1. Ross Glendinning (GK), 2. Kurtis Forsythe, 4. Mark Surgenor, 7. David Cushley (C), 10. Curtis Allen, 11. Nedas Maciulaitis, 12. Lewis MacKinnon, 19. Joe Crowe, 23. Reece Glendinning, 24. Daniel Purkis, 39. Ben Tilney

Subs: 20. Kyle Cherry (for 7. David Cushley, 61’), 9. Emmett McGuckin (for 23. Reece Glendinning, 69’), 6. Steven Gordon (for 11. Nedas Maciulaitis, 75’); not used: 25. Ben McCauley (GK), 15. Benjamin Buchanan-Rolleston, 17. Joshua Andrews, 22. Jaydyn Withers

Goals: 10. Curtis Allen (38’)

Yellow cards: 2. Kurtis Forsythe (18’), 7. David Cushley (42’)

Red cards: 19. Joe Crowe (72’)

Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown (GK), 2. Conor Kerr, 3. Aaron Rogers, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 10. Peter Campbell, 11. Niall Quinn (C), 16. Isaac Baird, 21. Aaron Prendergast, 23. Daniel Wallace, 28. Robert Garrett, 34. Cohen Henderson

Subs: 20. Stephen Teggart (for 34. Cohen Henderson, 56’), 29. Jackson Nesbitt (for 21. Aaron Prendergast, 66’), 22. Tiarnan Mulvenna (for 3. Aaron Rogers, 81’); not used: 31. Ben Purvis (GK), 17. Conor McCloskey, 38. Johnny McCullough, 47. Cormac McNally

Goals: 10. Peter Campbell (25’, 42’), 11. Niall Quinn (68’)

Yellow cards: 3. Aaron Rogers (19’), 16. Isaac Baird (29’), 23. Daniel Wallace (45’), 10. Peter Campbell

Referee: Keith Kennedy