Newry City 04 Glenavon

Sports Direct Premiership

Newry Showgrounds

Tuesday 26th December 2023

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon got back to winning ways with an emphatic 4-0 victory away to Newry City on Boxing Day.

The Lurgan Blues grabbed the lead in just the fifth minute when Danny Wallace drilled home a low shot from inside the penalty area.

The second goal arrived on 23 minutes, with substitute Stephen Teggart thumping home from eight yards after he’dbeen teed up by Peter Campbell.

Glenavon’s third goal was scored just four minutes later. Again, Campbell was the provider, this time squaring for Niall Quinn to side-foot in from close to the penalty spot.

Although the intensity of the game dropped off in the second half, the away side did still manage to add a fourth goal through substitute Aaron Prendergast. The young forward held off attempted challenges from Lorcan Forde and Andrew Martin before poking the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Steven Maguire to round off a resounding victory.

Coming off the back of three straight defeats at the hands of Larne, Linfield and Crusaders, it was clear from the off that Glenavon were determined to break that run of results. They raced out of the blocks at the Showgrounds to take the lead within the opening five minutes. Jamie McDonagh found the feet of Quinn with a low cross from the right flank, but Liam Bagnall managed to get his boot to the ball to dispossess the former Linfield player. The loose ball broke for Wallace at the edge of the box, but he couldn’t make the right connection with his shot. However, Campbell had the wherewithal to bring the ball under control before tapping it back to Wallace to set him up for a second shot. This time, the left-back duly drilled the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot to make it 1-0.

When Conor McCloskey picked up an injury a quarter of an hour into the game, Teggart was brought on in place of him. It didn’t take long for the substitute to begin impacting the match. On 18 minutes, Teggart nicked the ball away from Forde after Sean Ward had played a long pass over the top. Glenavon’s number 20 proceeded to send a curling shot narrowly over the crossbar from 20 yards out.

Six minutes later, Teggart managed to add his name to the scoresheet. Calum Birney sent a clearance upfield and Campbell got to it first, flicking the ball clear of Newry’sMartin. The defender attempted to make a recovery tackle, but Campbell held onto possession and made his way into the box. The forward unselfishly squared the ball to Teggart when he might have taken a shot himself. Teggart emphatically drove the ball high into the net to double the Lurgan Blues’ lead.

The game was effectively killed off before it had even reached the half-hour mark when Quinn added a third goal for the visitors. The brilliant Campbell completed a hat-trick of assists. Wallace found him on the left side of the penalty area with a low pass. Campbell cut back inside Darren King, then cleverly dummied the Newry captain to leave him on all-fours before laying the ball off for Quinn, who calmly side-footed into the bottom corner to put Glenavon out of sight.

Campbell twice came close to grabbing the goal that his superb performance clearly deserved. First of all, in the 31stminute, he sent a low shot narrowly wide of the near post. A minute later, the forward raced through on goal after McDonagh poked the ball into space behind the Newry defence. This time, Campbell’s shot came back off the base of Maguire’s left-hand post.

The closest the home side came to finding a goal in the first half was when John McGovern was picked out with a cross from the left wing in the second minute of stoppage time, but the young forward couldn’t direct his header on target.

The intensity of the second half failed to live up to the first, and chances were few and far between. Glenavon might have added to their lead on 66 minutes when there was a goalmouth scramble following a McDonagh corner, but Newry eventually managed to clear.

Three minutes after that. Teggart stung the palms of Maguire with a shot from the left edge of the penalty area. The ball might have fallen for McDonagh, who was lurking at the six-yard box, but it broke kindly for Newry instead, enabling Martin to make the clearance.

At the other end, Newry substitute Adam Salley managed to find the target with a shot from a tight angle in the 77thminute, but Rory Brown was able to make a routine save.

Glenavon’s dominant performance was capped off with a fourth goal moments later. Isaac Baird carried the ball over the halfway line before sliding a pass into the path of Prendergast. The substitute did really well to hold off the challenges of Forde and Martin as he carried the ball into the box, then kept the coolest of heads to poke it through the legs of goalkeeper Maguire to find the net.

Glenavon remain in eighth place in the league standings, one point clear of Loughgall in ninth, and one point behind Carrick Rangers in seventh.

Newry stay rooted to the bottom of the table, three points adrift of 11th-placed Ballymena United, and news broke soon after the final whistle on Boxing Day that Gary Boyle had decided to step down as City manager.

It is the Sky Blues who will be Glenavon’s next opponents, as they are the visitors to Mourneview Park on Saturday (30thDecember). Kick-off will be at 3pm.

Newry City: 1. Steven Maguire (GK), 2. Darren King (C), 8. Adam Carroll, 10. Thomas Lockhart, 11. John McGovern, 16. Liam Bagnall, 17. Andrew Martin, 24. Lorcan Forde, 33. Donal Scullion, 38. Georgie Poynton, 49. Paul McGovern

Subs: 7. Ciaran O’Connor (for 8. Adam Carroll, 57’), 14. Adam Salley (for 33. Donal Scullion, 57’); not used: 15. Michael O’Connor, 19. Brian Healy, 36. Jordan Mooney

Goals: N/A

Yellow cards: 24. Lorcan Forde (45’), 16. Liam Bagnall (53’), 11. John McGovern (60’), 7. Ciaran O’Connor (89’)

Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown (GK), 2. Conor Kerr, 4. Calum Birney, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 10. Peter Campbell, 11. Niall Quinn, 16. Isaac Baird, 17. Conor McCloskey, 23. Daniel Wallace, 27. Jamie McDonagh, 30. Sean Ward (C)

Subs: 20. Stephen Teggart (for 17. Conor McCloskey, 16’), 21. Aaron Prendergast (for 11. Niall Quinn, 73’), 34. Cohen Henderson (for 27. Jamie McDonagh, 80’), 14. Daniel Shiel (for 30. Sean Ward, 80’); not used: 31. Ben Purvis (GK), 22. Tiarnan Mulvenna

Goals: 23. Daniel Wallace (5’), 20. Stephen Teggart (24’), 11. Niall Quinn (28’), 21. Aaron Prendergast (78’)

Yellow cards: 17. Conor McCloskey (11’), 2. Conor Kerr (48’)

Referee: Steven Gregg