Larne 50 Glenavon

Clearer Water Irish Cup – Round 6

Inver Park

Saturday 3rd February 2024

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon crashed out of the Irish Cup with a heavy 5-0 defeat away to Larne in Saturday afternoon’s last-16 tie.

Lee Bonis scored a hattrick for the Inver Reds, grabbing his first two goals late in the first half, then completing his treble late in the second period to round off the scoring.

Andy Ryan had grabbed himself a brace before Bonis scored his third and Larne’s fifth. The Scot took advantage of a Glenavon defensive error to score shortly after half-time, then converted from the penalty spot close to the hour mark after Isaac Baird had been sent off for pulling back Ryan himself in the box.

Remarkably, given the final score, Glenavon actually started the match very well, pressing Larne with an intensity that disrupted the home side’s attempts to play their customary passing game, while the Lurgan Blues also enjoyed some good spells of possession themselves.

Matthew Snoddy sliced a shot wide of the target with his right foot from just outside the box after he’d been fed the ball by Peter Campbell on six minutes.

The visitors came close to opening the scoring when Baird hit the target with a powerful header after a James Doona corner from the left had been flicked on by Larne’s Sean Graham in the 11th minute. Goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson had to tip Baird’s effort over the bar.

Even though Larne may have been on the back foot to an extent in the early minutes, Bonis provided a reminder that they have the firepower to threaten at any given moment when he hit the base of Gareth Deane’s right-hand post with a low shot from just outside the box in the 13th minute.

The lively Doona had a pop from distance on 30 minutes, and his shot forced Ferguson into a save, the goalkeeper diving down to his right to keep the ball out.

The home side opened the scoring in the 37th minute, after which the complexion of the game changed completely.Graham sent Bonis through on goal with an excellent pass from just inside his own half on the left flank. Deane came off his line to confront Bonis, but the striker evaded the goalkeeper by cleverly rolling the ball past him with his studs. With Danny Wallace attempting to get back and recover, Bonis did well to keep his balance before checking back inside, leaving Wallace sprawled on the floor and himself with the simple task of firing into an empty net.

Just five minutes later, Bonis was on the scoresheet again. Levi Ives sent a looping ball towards the Glenavon goal. Wallace was ahead of Bonis, but the defender allowed the ball to bounce, presumably expecting his goalkeeper to claim it. Whoever was responsible for the mistake, Bonis took full advantage of the mix-up between Wallace and Deane, getting to the ball first and heading it over the stranded goalkeeper and into the net from inside the ‘D’ to double the hosts’ lead.

The tie was settled six minutes after the restart when Ryan scored his first goal of the afternoon. There was no doubt that Wallace was at fault on this occasion. Ferguson sent a long clearance upfield which Bonis headed on. Again, Wallace was in front of the Larne attacker. This time, he did get a touch on the ball, but he seemed to be caught in two minds about whether to try and bring the ball under control himself and attempt to clear it or pass it back to Deane for the goalkeeper to make the clearance. In the end, Wallace did neither, presenting the ball instead to Ryan, who slid in to steer it past Deane and into the goal from just inside the penalty area.

Glenavon had a shout for a penalty waved away by referee Ian McNabb on 57 minutes when Darren Clarke was bundled over in the box by Aaron Donnelly.

Just moments later, McNabb did point to the spot at the other end to award the home side a spot kick. Baird looked favourite to win a battle with Ryan as they approached the left side of the Glenavon penalty area, but the young defender somehow allowed the Larne attacker to beat him to the ball. As Ryan advanced into the box Baird grabbed at his shoulders in desperation. There may not have been much force in the challenge, but as soon as Ryan felt the contact he went to ground, and McNabb didn’t hesitate to award the penalty. When the referee proceeded to flash a red card at Baird, Glenavon’s afternoon was fast turning into a nightmare. Ryan himself took the penalty and found the net by side-footing a low shot to the left of Deane, who appeared to have guessed that the Larne striker would try to go down the middle.

Substitute Stephen Teggart cut inside from the left and sent a low right-foot shot towards the far corner in the 71st minute as Glenavon made futile attempts to find a consolation goal. Ferguson dived down to his left to make the save.

Bonis rounded off the scoring for Larne and secured his hat-trick six minutes later. Substitutes Paul O’Neill and Mark Randall played a one-two which released O’Neill into the box. The forward squared to Bonis on the six-yard line, and he slammed the ball home to cap off a memorable individual performance and a commanding victory for Tiarnan Lynch’s side.

Larne advance to the Irish Cup quarter-finals, where they will host Championship side Newington.

Glenavon will attempt to get over the disappointment of their cup exit by refocusing on their Premiership campaign next weekend. Stephen McDonnell’s team will face a stern test, however, as they welcome current league leaders Linfield to Mourneview Park on Saturday (10th February). Kick-off will be at 3pm.

Larne: 1. Rohan Ferguson (GK), 4. Aaron Donnelly, 10. Lee Bonis, 14. Levi Ives, 18. Cian Bolger (C), 23. Tomas Cosgrove, 24. Sean Graham, 27. Christopher Gallagher, 29. Andrew Ryan, 35. Ro-Shaun Williams, 99. Jaziel Orozco

Subs: 8. Mark Randall (for 14. Levi Ives, 66’), 9. Paul O’Neill (for 29. Andrew Ryan, 74’), 7. Daniel Kearns (for 27. Christopher Gallagher, 74’), 40. James Simpson (for 24. Sean Graham, 81’), 17. Isaac Westendorf (for 10. Lee Bonis, 81’);not used: 36. Aidan McAdams (GK), 21. Leroy Millar

Goals: 10. Lee Bonis (37’, 42’, 77’), 29. Andrew Ryan (51’, 59’ (penalty))

Yellow cards: 35. Ro-Shaun Williams (22’), 4. Aaron Donnelly (31’), 24. Sean Graham (62’)

Glenavon: 44. Gareth Deane (GK), 5. David Toure, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 8. Jack Malone, 10. Peter Campbell, 11. Niall Quinn (C), 16. Isaac Baird, 23. Daniel Wallace, 25. Darren Clarke, 32. Len O’Sullivan, 39. James Doona

Subs: 24. Jamie Doran (for 23. Daniel Wallace, 53’), 2. Conor Kerr (for 25. Darren Clarke, 60’), 20. Stephen Teggart (for 39. James Doona, 66’), 99. Lido Lotefa (for 10. Peter Campbell), 28. Robert Garrett (for 11. Niall Quinn, 66’); not used: 13.Mark Byrne (GK), 9. Gavin Hodgins

Goals: N/A

Yellow cards: 23. Daniel Wallace (33’), 10. Peter Campbell (61’), 20. Stephen Teggart (90’)

Red cards: 16. Isaac Baird (58’)

Referee: Ian McNabb