Glenavon 4-0 Dungannon Swifts

Sports Direct Premiership

Mourneview Park

Saturday 10th March 2024

Match report by Calum Jones

Glenavon returned to winning ways with a resounding 4-0 victory against Dungannon Swifts at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon.

Lido Lotefa scored a hat-trick for the Lurgan Blues, notching twice inside the opening 15 minutes before grabbing his third shortly after the hour mark.

Matthew Snoddy rounded off the scoring with a cracking strike from just inside the box in the 65th minute.

Minutes after his goal, Snoddy was on the end of a rash tackle from Gael Bigirimana which resulted in the Dungannon midfielder being shown a straight red card.

The Swifts did have a chance to grab a consolation goal from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Mark Byrne brought down former Glenavon striker Andrew Mitchell, but Byrne redeemed himself by saving substitute Ben Gallagher’s low effort.

Glenavon grabbed the lead in just the sixth minute of the game in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Snoddy launched a long speculative ball in behind the Dungannon defence, and a mix-up between Cahal McGinty and captain Dean Curry allowed Lotefa to nip in. The striker got his knee to the ball when it bobbled up and it somehow squirmed beneath goalkeeper Alex Henderson and trickled in off the post. As debut goals go, it certainly wasn’t the prettiest, but that didn’t bother Lotefa, who wheeled away in celebration.

Glenavon kept the pressure up on the Swifts in the early minutes, with Doona’s low shot taking a slight deflection as it went behind for a corner in the ninth minute, while the winger delivered a cross from the left which was only half cleared three minutes later. The ball fell for Niall Quinn just outside the penalty area, but the Glenavon captain sliced his left-foot shot over the crossbar.

The Lurgan Blues doubled their lead in the 14th minute. Sean Ward carried the ball out of defence and picked Lotefa out with a lofted pass in behind the Swifts backline. At first, the ball wouldn’t quite come down for Lotefa, but he showed great determination to battle his way past McGinty and Curry before poking the ball in from the six-yard line.

Glenavon’s dominance continued, and they were awarded a free kick in a threatening position with 26 minutes on the clock. Jack Malone’s shot found the target, but it was straight at Henderson.

The visitors did manage to threaten on a couple of occasions as the game approached half-time. Glenavon goalkeeper Byrne came off his line but failed to catch a free kick in the 31st minute. Thankfully, Malone was on hand to clear.

Byrne produced a good save to deny Leo Alves on 37 minutes when the Swifts midfielder got in and shot from close range, and so the scoreline remained 2-0 going into the break.

Glenavon were very much in the ascendency again in the early portion of the second half. Snoddy’s low cross from the left on the hour mark might well have found Jamie Doran at the back post but for a timely intervention by Adam Glenny.

Snoddy was picked out by Doona from the resulting corner, but the midfielder sent his volley wide of the near post.

Doona was again the creator in the 62nd minute when he crossed from the left to find Malone. The midfielder struck a side-foot shot first time with his right foot but failed to hit the target when he probably should at least have forced the goalkeeper into a save.

Doran played the ball infield to Lotefa on 64 minutes and the striker played a first-time pass out to David Toure on the right flank. The substitute steadied himself and clipped a cross to the back post to pick out Doona. Henderson did well to tip Doona’s header onto the crossbar, but the goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent Lotefa from pouncing on the rebound and finding the roof of the net from just a couple of yards out to complete his hat-trick.

Things got even better for Glenavon three minutes later when Snoddy added a fourth goal, and this one was the pick of the bunch. Dungannon had three chances to clear after Doona had floated over a corner from the right, but the Swifts only managed to get the ball as far as the edge of their box, where it dropped invitingly for Snoddy. The midfielder controlled the ball on his chest before striking a shot with the outside of his right boot which angled away from the dive of Henderson and nestled in the far corner.

That might have been the last of the goals, but the drama was far from over. Bigirimana needlessly lunged in on Snoddy from behind in the 71st minute. Referee Lee Tavinder took his time to reach a decision, but ultimately produced the red card to dismiss the former Glentoran midfielder.

Darren Clarke hit the target with a shot after Malone had found him with a cross from the left three minutes after Bigirimana’s dismissal. Henderson made a good save to deny the Glenavon substitute, diving down to his right to keep the ball out of the net.

The away side were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute. Gallagher cleverly flicked the ball past Malone on the left flank before driving towards the box. The substitute slid a pass into the path of Mitchell. The former Glenavon forward got to the ball ahead of Byrne, and when the goalkeeper upended him, referee Tavinder didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. Gallagher was given the responsibility of taking the spot kick, but his left-foot shot was tame, and Byrne made amends for his error, diving down to his right to make the save and preserve his clean sheet.

Clarke broke clear at the other end with 87 minutes on the clock. The attacker appeared to be caught in two minds about whether to go for goal himself or attempt to find fellow substitute Conor McCloskey. In the end, Clarke opted for the second option, but he couldn’t pick McCloskey out with his pass.

McCloskey was presented with a chance in stoppage time when Doona slipped him in, but Glenavon’s number 17 clipped his shot wide of the near post, and the game finished 4-0.

This was an important victory for Glenavon, as the Lurgan Blues had gone into the game level on points with Dungannon, but one place below them in the table due to an inferior goal difference. This four-goal win moves Stephen McDonnell’s side into ninth place in the league standings, three points clear of the Swifts, as well as bringing them to within two goals of Rodney McAree’s team in terms of the goal difference.

Saturday (16th March) will see Glenavon make the trip to take on league leaders Larne in the penultimate match before the split. Kick-off at Inver Park will be at 3pm.

MATCH SPONSOR – William Walker Glenavon Supporters Club

BALL SPONSOR – Kuba Creative


Glenavon:  13. Mark Byrne (GK), 4. Calum Birney, 7. Matthew Snoddy, 8. Jack Malone, 11. Niall Quinn (C), 24. Jamie Doran, 28. Robert Garrett, 30. Sean Ward, 32. Len O’Sullivan, 39. James Doona, 99. Lido Lotefa

Subs: 5. David Toure (for 11. Niall Quinn, 46’), 17. Conor McCloskey (for 24. Jamie Doran, 65’), 25. Darren Clarke (for 99. Lido Lotefa, 68’), 2. Conor Kerr (for 28. Robert Garrett, 75’), 23. Daniel Wallace (for 32. Len O’Sullivan, 75’); not used: 44. Gareth Deane (GK), 49. Daniel Shiel

Goals: 99. Lido Lotefa (6’, 14’, 62’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (65’)

Yellow cards: 13. Mark Byrne (82’)

Dungannon Swifts: 32. Alex Henderson (GK), 4. Dean Curry (C), 8. James Knowles, 10. Kealan Dillon, 12. Steven Scott, 14. Adam Glenny, 17. Cahal McGinty, 19. Thomas Maguire, 23. Ladislau Leonel Ucha Alves, 26. Andrew Mitchell, 34. Gael Bigirimana

Subs: 3. John Scott (for 4. Dean Curry, 29’), 16. Joseph Moore (for 19. Thomas Maguire, 46’), 33. Tommy Taggert (for 23. Ladislau Leonel Ucha Alves, 46’), 15. Ben Gallagher (for 10. Kealan Dillon, 66’), 39. Aidan Hegarty (for 8. James Knowles, 66’); not used: 13. Adam Ritchie (GK), 30. Ryan Harpur

Goals: N/A

Missed penalties: 15. Ben Gallagher (83’)

Yellow cards: 12. Steven Scott (25’)

Red cards: 34. Gael Bigirimana (71’)

Referee: Lee Tavinder