Fallon 5’, Millar 15’, Cooper 17’, Lavery 27’, Clarke 34’, Stewart 53’, Cooper 78’, Callacher 90'
Rohan Ferguson (GK), Ethan Boyle, Josh Robinson, Jimmy Callacher, Matthew Clarke, Stephen Fallon, Jamie Mulgrew © (Kyle McClean 53’), Kirk Millar, Joel Cooper, Jordan Stewart (Niall Quinn 61’), Shayne Lavery (Rory Currie 61’)
Linfield were at their absolutely scintillating best when they thumped Glenavon at Windsor Park. After being wasteful in last week’s frustrating draw at home to Dungannon Swifts, David Healy’s men showed an emphatic response.
The champions showed their intent from the get-go and took the lead after just five minutes. Shayne Lavery’s through ball was deflected fortunately into the path of Stephen Fallon who finished a brilliant counter attack by slotting home into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Fallon was involved again as Linfield added a second goal on 15 minutes. The energetic midfielder burst into the box past Glenavon midfielder Matthew Snoddy who brought Fallon down. Referee Ian McNabb pointed to the spot and Kirk Millar stepped up with a good confident penalty into the bottom left corner.
Two became three on 17 minutes, and what a goal it was. Joel Cooper, as direct as ever, picked up the ball on the left before driving past Glenavon men and infield onto his right foot before arrowing a brilliant shot into the far corner.
The Linfield fans were enjoying every second of a blistering start, but it was a disastrous start as far as Glenavon were concerned and things soon got even worse for them. The Lurgan Blues were reduced to ten men as Robert Garrett suffered an unwanted return to Windsor Park, receiving a straight red card for something he said to referee Ian McNabb.
Shayne Lavery made it 4-0 to the Blues when he got across the front post to glance home a brilliant header on the end of Kirk Millar’s corner.
Defender Matthew Clarke added a fifth goal for Linfield ten minutes before the break. Glenavon weren’t happy as they thought Joel Cooper had dribbled the ball out of play before cutting the ball back for Clarke to fire into the corner from close range.
Gary Hamilton’s men netted a consolation goal before the break. Defender Ethan Boyle found himself wrong side of the venturing Matthew Snoddy inside the box and a penalty was awarded when Boyle leaned into his man. Sammy Clingan stepped up to convert from the spot, a slightly better end to a half where they were steamrolled.
Half Time: Linfield 5 –1 Glenavon
The intent didn’t change in the second half as Linfield continued to play with a real swagger. The Blues hit a sixth goal when they were awarded a second penalty for a handball in the box by a Glenavon man when a free-kick came in. Jordan Stewart stepped up this time, slotting in a composed penalty as Tuffey went the opposite way.
A disappointing moment of an otherwise very positive afternoon was an injury sustained by Jamie Mulgrew, which, on a brighter note, provided an opportunity for young midfielder Kyle McClean to make his second debut for the Club after signing permanently following his departure from St. Johnstone.
Ethan Boyle drew a good save from Tuffey soon after in his search for a first goal. Another new arrival came off the bench to make his debut as 21 year-old striker Rory Currie was introduced following a loan move from Hearts. The young striker put himself about, showed good pace and took up some good positions. Niall Quinn also came on to make a return from injury.
Kirk Millar saw his header from Quinn’s corner deflected onto the crossbar before Joel Cooper netted his second and Linfield’s seventh. The winger drove forward, cut inside on his stronger left foot and fired past Tuffey who will feel disappointed after getting a hand to it.
The Blues added an eighth goal at the death when Joel Cooper broke away on the counter, running through on goal before slipping it across to Jimmy Callacher who burst a gut to support Cooper and the defender finished brilliantly.
Full Time: Linfield 8 – 1 Glenavon
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Joel Cooper