Knockbreda 0-4 Glenavon

Clearer Water Irish Cup – Round 5

Breda Park

Saturday 6th January 2024

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon booked their place in the last 16 of the Irish Cup with a comfortable 4-0 fifth-round victory away to Championship side Knockbreda.

Debutant Darren Clarke opened the scoring for the Lurgan Blues on 20 minutes when he lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Benjamin Fry, while Peter Campbell doubled the away side’s lead with a header from a corner seven minutes later.

Another debutant, James Doona, scored Glenavon’s third goal three minutes into the second half with a neat finish after captain Niall Quinn had found him on the left flank with an excellent pass.

Jack Malone rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot in the 71st minute after substitute Jamie Doran had been fouled.

With Knockbreda sitting rock bottom of the Championship, having picked up just four points from 21 games so far this season, Glenavon went into this cup tie as heavy favourites. However, there could be no room for complacency, considering the cup defeats the Lurgan Blues have suffered in recent seasons at the hands of Championship clubs such as Annagh United and Harland & Wolff Welders. On this occasion, Glenavon went about their business in a professional manner and secured a comfortable win.

The visitors were on the front foot from the early minutes. Campbell almost played Malone in in the fifth minute, but he just put a bit too much on the through-ball.

The ball rebounded for Isaac Baird on eight minutes after Breda keeper Fry had saved a Calum Birney header. The teenager’s subsequent shot was destined to hit the target, but Peter McDermott did well to block the effort.

A superb Glenavon passing move in the 12th minute finished with a one-two between Campbell and Matthew Snoddy, creating a shooting opportunity for the former. Campbell sent a low left-foot strike wide of the far post.

Campbell was involved again a couple of minutes later, going down under a challenge from a Knockbreda defender when threatening to break through on goal. It was difficult to tell if the challenge took place inside or outside the box. It didn’t matter in the end, as referee Christopher Morrison told Campbell to get to his feet.

Quinn sent over a cross from the left on 16 minutes. Malone met the ball on the volley and did well to keep the strike down, but he couldn’t hit the target.

The pressure finally told in the 21st minute. Snoddy played a ball over the top on the right to find Clarke. Fry came off his line to confront the winger, but Clarke coolly lobbed the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper and into the net to break the deadlock.

Clarke might have added a second goal five minutes later when fellow debutant Doona crossed from the left. Clarke did manage to get on the end of the cross, but he couldn’t steer his volley on target.

Glenavon didn’t have long to wait for their second, anyway. Quinn took a short corner to Doona on the right in the 28th minute, and he crossed to pick out Campbell. The forward glanced his header into the far corner to make it 2-0, and that was how it remained until half-time.

The impressive Doona added his name to the scoresheet three minutes after the break. Quinn sent Doona clear on the left with a pinpoint pass. The winger carried the ball into the penalty area before producing a composed finish, side-footing the ball into the far bottom corner with his right foot.

David Toure, also making his debut for the Lurgan Blues, got forward well from right-back on 51 minutes and pulled the ball back towards Quinn. The Glenavon captain cleverly dummied the pass to leave it for Malone, but the midfielder’s low shot was blocked.

Doona got in again in the 56th minute when Snoddy played a ball over the backline. On this occasion, the winger couldn’t hit the target with his shot, firing a low effort wide of the far post.

The result was put beyond all doubt when Malone scored with a penalty kick on 70 minutes. Substitute Doran made his way into the box with a great run, and when he was upended, referee Morrison pointed to the spot. Malone sent his kick low to the keeper’s right to find the net and make it 4-0.

Glenavon might have added to their lead a couple of times in the dying minutes of the game. Stephen Teggart almost squeezed in a shot from a tight angle on the right in the 84th minute, while fellow substitute Daniel Shiel had a great chance to score four minutes later from close to the penalty spot. Unfortunately for the 17-year-old he couldn’t keep his shot down, and so the game ended Knockbreda 0-4 Glenavon.

The Lurgan Blues have been handed a tough draw in the last 16 of the Irish Cup, with a trip to reigning Premiership champions Larne their reward for completing this victory over Knockbreda. That tie will be played on the first weekend of February.

Attention reverts to the league again next Saturday (13th January), as Stephen McDonnell’s men travel to Taylors Avenue to take on Carrick Rangers in an important fixture. The Gers, occupying eighth spot in the table, sit just one point and one place above Glenavon. Kick-off at the Loughview Leisure Arena will be at 3pm.

Knockbreda: 1. Benjamin Fry (GK), 2. Brandon Bradshaw, 3. Callum McVeigh, 4. Jake Willis, 5. Kyle Anderson, 6. Peter McDermott, 7. Matthew Henry, 8. Ashton McDermott (C), 9. Jay Thompson, 16. Eddie Shaw, 18. Ronan Kalla

Subs: 15. Daniel Smith (for 2. Brandon Bradshaw, 59’), 14. Conor Quinn (for 18. Ronan Kalla, 63’), 20. Lucas Morrison (for 9. Jay Thompson, 63’), 12. William Duncan (for 5. Kyle Anderson, 70’); not used: 21. Ross Murphy

Goals: N/A

Yellow cards: 18. Ronan Kalla (45+2’)

Glenavon: 13. Mark Byrne (GK), 4. Calum Birney, 5. David Toure, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 8. Jack Malone, 10. Peter Campbell, 11. Niall Quinn (C), 16. Isaac Baird, 25. Darren Clarke, 28. Robert Garrett, 39. James Doona 

Subs: 20. Stephen Teggart (for 25. Darren Clarke, 46’), 2. Conor Kerr (for 4. Calum Birney, 53’), 24. Jamie Doran (for 28. Robert Garrett, 59’), 47. Daniel Shiel (for 10. Peter Campbell, 65’); not used: 31. Ben Purvis (GK), 21. Aaron Prendergast, 53. Zach Woolsey

Goals: 25. Darren Clarke (21’), 10. Peter Campbell (28’), 39. James Doona (48’), 8. Jack Malone (71’ (penalty))

Yellow cards: N/A

Referee: Christopher Morrison