Glenavon 20 Loughgall

Sports Direct Premiership

Mourneview Park

Saturday 18th November 2023

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon made it four league wins on the spin with an assured 2-0 victory over Loughgall at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon.

The impressive Isaac Baird gave the Lurgan Blues the lead just three minutes into the match when he converted after Loughgall goalkeeper Berraat Turker failed to deal with a Conor McCloskey corner.

The hosts doubled their lead five minutes before the break through Jack Malone. Turker got a hand to Malone’s low shot, but he couldn’t prevent it from finding the net.

The intensity of the game dropped in the second half as Glenavon saw out a comfortable victory, with goalkeeper Rory Brown rarely tested.

The home side were on the front foot early on, with Baird seeing a shot deflected behind for a corner in the second minute. McCloskey curled over the corner from the left, and Turker could only flap at the ball, pawing it down to the edge of the six-yard box. Baird pounced, side-footing a first-time left-foot shot into the net to put Glenavon ahead.

Loughgall won a free kick on the left flank with 11 minutes on the clock. Former Glenavon man Mark Patton took the set piece, swinging over a cross to the back post. Loughgall captain Ben Murdock met it with his head and found the target, but it was a simple save for Brown.

Malone had a pop at goal in the 20th minute from 25 yards out. The sponsor’s Man of the Match Robert Garrett played a pass into Malone close to the centre circle. The midfielder carried the ball towards goal before letting fly with a low right-foot shot which was struck with power. Turker did well to deal with it, diving down to his right and scooping the ball over the bar.

McCloskey went close for Glenavon four minutes later when he struck a shot on the turn from just outside the box. The ball went narrowly over the crossbar.

The home side got the second goal their performance deserved in the 40th minute. Brown played a long ball out from the back to find Campbell on the right flank. The winger produced a superb first touch to bring the ball under control before passing it back to fullback Matthew Snoddy. Snoddy played a square pass to Aaron Prendergast on the edge of the penalty area, but before the striker could get a shot in, Murdock dispossessed him. The ball broke loose, however, and Malone latched onto it, drilling in a low shot from 18 yards. Turker will feel he should have done better. The goalkeeper did manage to get a hand to the ball when he dived down to his left, but he couldn’t prevent it from finding the bottom corner.

Glenavon came close to adding a third goal in first-half stoppage time. Snoddy spread the ball out to the right wing to find Campbell, who carried it over the halfway line before slipping a pass into the penalty area for Prendergast to run onto. The young forward hit a first-time shot with his right foot on the run. Turker was beaten all ends up, but unfortunately for Prendergast and Glenavon the ball thumped off the crossbar.

Nathaniel Ferris had a snapshot from distance for the visitors in the opening minute of the second half, but the ball sailed well wide of the far post.

McCloskey had a decent opportunity to add his name to the scoresheet two minutes after the hour mark, but he could only curl his shot from 20 yards wide of the far post.

Glenavon continued to push for the elusive third goal. Captain Niall Quinn hit the target with a low shot on 71 minutes. Turker fumbled it, but the goalkeeper still managed to put the ball behind for a corner.

Five minutes later, Malone found the target with a low shotfrom 25 yards out after Quinn played a free kick short to him. Turker did well on this occasion, diving down to his right to make a one-handed save before gathering the ball.

The closest the visitors came to finding a goal was through Caolan McAleer in the 82nd minute. A neat passing move down the left involving Jordan Gibson, Alberto Balde and Benji Magee finished with the latter playing McAleer in on the left side of the penalty area. The substitute hit the target with his shot from a narrow angle, but Brown stood tall and made the save.

Glenavon comfortably saw out the closing minutes of the game to secure a well-deserved win.

That’s four victories and three clean sheets in a row for the Lurgan Blues in the league now, and Stephen McDonnell’s side are up into eighth place in the Sports Direct Premiership standings, with 19 points on the board.

Next Friday (24th November) sees Glenavon travel to bottom side Newry City. Kick-off at the Newry Showgrounds will be at 7:45pm.

MATCH SPONSOR – Park Avenue Takeaway

BALL SPONSOR – McMillen Driver Training

MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – Mark Baxter, Robbie Garrett

Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown (GK), 2. Conor Kerr, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 8. Jack Malone, 10. Peter Campbell, 11. Niall Quinn (C), 16. Isaac Baird, 17. Conor McCloskey, 21. Aaron Prendergast, 23. Daniel Wallace, 28. Robert Garrett

Subs: 3. Aaron Rogers (for 10. Peter Campbell, 48’), 34. Cohen Henderson (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 73’), 20. Stephen Teggart (for 21. Aaron Prendergast, 83’), 22. Tiarnan Mulvenna (for 28. Robert Garrett, 83’); not used: 31. Ben Purvis (GK), 30. Sean Ward, 49. Daniel Shiel

Goals: 16. Isaac Baird (3’), 8. Jack Malone (40’)

Yellow cards: 10. Peter Campbell (32’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (90+2’)

Loughgall: 1. Berraat Turker (GK), 4. Ben Murdock (C), 6. Tiernan Kelly, 7. Pablo Andrade, 8. Alan Teggart, 9. Nathaniel Ferris, 10. Andrew Hoey, 14. Mark Patton, 15. Luke Cartwright, 19. James Carroll, 21. Benjamin Magee

Subs: 18. Alberto Balde Almanzar (for 9. Nathaniel Ferris, 63’), 13. Jordan Gibson (for 10. Andrew Hoey, 63’), 11. Caolan McAleer (for 14. Mark Patton, 63’), 3. Jamie Rea (for 15. Luke Cartwright, 83’), 5. Oran Brogan (for 6. Tiernan Kelly, 83’); not used: 20. Daniel Devine (GK), 23. Caolan Loughran

Goals: N/A

Yellow cards: 4. Ben Murdock (17’), 15. Luke Cartwright (83’), 21. Benjamin Magee (90+3’)

Referee: Lee Tavinder