Glenavon 2-2 Linfield

Sports Direct Premiership

Mourneview Park

Saturday 10th February 2024

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon twice came from behind to earn a deserved point against Linfield in a 2-2 draw at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon.

Stephen Fallon put the visitors ahead in just the second minute of the match when he rounded Gareth Deane and rolled the ball into the net.

James Doona capitalised on an error by Kyle McClean to draw Glenavon level shortly after the half-hour mark.

When Linfield substitute Darragh McBrien headed home Kirk Millar’s right-wing cross in the 88th minute it looked like David Healy’s side were heading back to the top of the table, but Glenavon substitute Aaron Prendergast fired into an empty net from close range after Peter Campbell’s shot had come back off the post to snatch a point for the Lurgan Blues deep into injury time.

The game started in the worst possible fashion for Glenavon when they found themselves a goal down in just the second minute. McClean won the ball on the halfway line and slid a pass through for Fallon, who had made a run from deep, ensuring he remained onside. Fallon carried the ball into the penalty area and took it past goalkeeper Deane before rolling it into the empty net from a narrow angle with his left foot.

Glenavon tried to hit back moments later when Darren Clarke found the target with a shot from a tight angle on the right, but Chris Johns was equal to the effort in the Linfield goal.

Matthew Clarke also hit the target at the other end in the sixth minute after a Linfield corner routine. Deane was able to save fairly comfortably.

Glenavon got better as the first half progressed, and Doona flashed a shot wide of Johns’s right-hand post from outside the box in the 17th minute.

Four minutes later, a superb passing move down the Glenavon left saw Lido Lotefa cleverly flick the ball into the path of Doona, and he squared to find Jack Malone on the edge of the box. The midfielder’s side-foot shot was heading for the bottom corner, only for Johns to dive down to his right and make a fantastic save to keep the ball out of the net.

From the resulting corner, captain Niall Quinn sent over an outswinger. Lotefa met the ball between the penalty spot and the six-yard box. The striker’s header was on target, but Johns was able to tip it over the bar.

Glenavon grabbed the equaliser their play warranted in the 33rd minute. Doona slipped a pass inside for Campbell. When the ball came back off the Glenavon number 10’s heel, it looked like the attack had broken down. McClean latched onto the loose ball, but he took a heavy touch, gifting it to Doona inside the box. The winger slotted a low first-time finish beyond the advancing Johns and into the net to make it 1-1.

Buoyed by the equaliser, Glenavon might have got their noses in front four minutes later. Campbell did well to beat Linfield captain Jamie Mulgrew and carry the ball to the byline before cutting it back. The ball went just behind Malone, however, when he was well placed for a shot.

Linfield improved after the break, and when Fallon’s shot was blocked by Kerr on the hour mark there were calls for a penalty. Referee Raymond Crangle was uninterested in the appeals.

Moments later, Ethan McGee sent over a long throw from the right. Glenavon left-back Len O’Sullivan got his head to the ball, but he could only clear it as far as Millar. The Linfield winger struck an acrobatic volley from close to the penalty spot which went narrowly wide of Deane’s left-hand post.

David Toure had an excellent game for Glenavon in the right-back position, and he had to be absolutely spot on with his slide tackle on McBrien in the 81st minute to deny the Linfield substitute a shooting opportunity on the left side of the box, otherwise referee Crangle would have pointed to the spot.

McBrien wasn’t to be denied seven minutes later. Millar threw the ball in from the right to find Mulgrew, who quickly returned it to the winger. Millar delivered a trademark cross to the far post, where McBrien met it on the six-yard line. The young attacker powered his header into the roof of the net to score what looked sure to be the winning goal.

Linfield came within inches of sealing victory when Chris McKee struck the base of Deane’s right-hand post with a left-foot shot from 25 yards in the final minute of normal time.

Glenavon were determined to get something to show for their efforts, however, and the Lurgan Blues earned a deserved point when Prendergast struck in the seventh minute of time added on. Quinn fed the ball into the feet of Campbell, who then played a one-two with substitute Matthew Snoddy, creating a shooting chance for Campbell inside the ‘D’. The forward did well to control his shot with his weaker right foot, and the strike beat Johns before coming back off the post. The ball broke kindly for Prendergast, who was left with the simple task of slotting into the empty net from inside the six-yard box to salvage a point that few would say Glenavon weren’t worthy of.

The result means Stephen McDonnell’s men remain in ninth place in the Sports Direct Premiership standings, while Linfield missed out on the chance to move back above Larne into top spot.

The Lurgan Blues face another challenging fixture next Saturday (17th February) when they travel to Solitude to take on third-placed Cliftonville. Kick-off will be at 3pm.


BALL SPONSOR – Jack Pringle


Glenavon: 44. Gareth Deane (GK), 2. Conor Kerr, 5. David Toure, 8. Jack Malone, 10. Peter Campbell, 11. Niall Quinn (C), 25. Darren Clarke, 28. Robert Garrett, 32. Len O’Sullivan, 39. James Doona, 99. Lido Lotefa

Subs: 9. Gavin Hodgins (for 99. Lido Lotefa, 46’), 24. Jamie Doran (for 25. Darren Clarke, 54’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (for 39. James Doona, 78’), 21. Aaron Prendergast (for 8. Jack Malone, 83’); not used: 13. Mark Byrne (GK), 20. Stephen Teggart, 30. Sean Ward

Goals: 39. James Doona (33’), 21. Aaron Prendergast (90+7’)

Yellow cards: 5. David Toure (77’), 28. Robert Garrett (90+2’)

Linfield: 1. Christopher Johns (GK), 2. Daniel Finlayson, 3. Euan East, 7. Kirk Millar, 8. Kyle McClean, 16. Matthew Clarke, 17. Christopher McKee, 20. Stephen Fallon, 22. Jamie Mulgrew (C), 27. Ethan McGee, 29. Matthew Fitzpatrick

Subs: 5. Christopher Shields (for 3. Euan East, 46’), 12. Darragh McBrien (for 20. Stephen Fallon, 70’), 36. Rhys Annett (for 29. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 70’), 64. Braiden Graham (for 8. Kyle McClean, 82’), 53. Joshua Archer (for 17. Christopher McKee, 90+5’); not used: 51. David Walsh (GK), 60. Aodhan Doherty

Goals: 20. Stephen Fallon (2’), 12. Darragh McBrien (88’)

Yellow cards: 2. Daniel Finlayson (26’), 64. Braiden Graham (90+5’)

Referee: Raymond Crangle