Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorers :
Shayne Lavery 13', Christy Manzinga 70'
Glenavon Scorers :
Colin Coates 8', Matthew Fitzpatrick 29', Danny Purkis 60'
Linfield Yellow Card :
Glenavon Yellow Cards :
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Mark Haughey, Jimmy Callacher (C), Ross Larkin (Niall Quinn 32’), Matthew Clarke, Cammy Palmer, Stephen Fallon, Kirk Millar (Andy Waterworth 61’), Joel Cooper, Jordan Stewart (Christy Manzinga 61’), Shayne Lavery
Linfield Subs not used :
Alex Moore, Conor Pepper, Jamie Mulgrew, Navid Nasseri
Glenavon Team :
Craig Hyland (GK), Aaron Harmon, Sean Ward, Colin Coates (Andrew Doyle 52’), James Singleton ©, Andrew Hall (Greg Moorhouse 75’), Matthew Snoddy, Robert Garrett, Peter Campbell, Daniel Purkis (Calvin Douglas 87’), Matthew Fitzpatrick
Glenavon Subs not used :
Conan Byrne, Gareth McCaffrey, Joshua Doyle, Michael O’Connor
Linfield were left disappointed as they lost in a five-goal battle of the Blues against Glenavon at Mourneview Park this evening in a defeat which cuts their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership to seven points ahead of the split.
The Lurgan Blues went ahead early on with just eight minutes on the clock. Peter Campbell whipped a free-kick in from a wide right position and Colin Coates got across his man to flick a header on past Chris Johns and into the net.
Linfield had their sixth corner of the match after 13 minutes and their series of corners finally paid off with an equalising goal. Matthew Clarke whipped an inswinging free-kick to the near post area and Shayne Lavery managed to get on the end of it to head in his 22nd goal of the season.
David Healy’s men almost scored again a minute later with a well-worked move. Cammy Palmer fed the ball into Joel Cooper on the left of the box and he hung a cross up to Kirk Millar at the back post and the winger did well to head it back across to Jordan Stewart in the middle but his header was kept out by Craig Hyland at close range.
Then Glenavon retook the lead on 28 minutes. Both of their frontmen, Danny Purkis and Matthew Fitzpatrick, were a handful and Linfield were struggling to deal with them, as seen when the latter put Glenavon ahead. James Singleton put in a fantastic corner delivery right underneath Chris Johns’ crossbar and Jimmy Callacher did absolutely brilliantly to head it off the line, but his teammates didn’t clear and Fitzpatrick raced onto a loose ball to fire home from close range.
The Blues had a number of chances outside of their goal, with the majority of them coming from great deliveries by Kirk Millar. Joel Cooper and Shayne Lavery headed chances over the bar and the former also fired a low shot into the side netting with his right foot from inside the box.
Linfield had to reshuffle on 32 minutes when Ross Larkin pulled up with a muscle injury and David Healy introduced Niall Quinn at left back, with Matthew Clarke moving across to right back.
Half Time: Glenavon 2 – 1 Linfield
Jimmy Callacher headed wide from a Niall Quinn free-kick just inside the box after the break and Cammy Palmer was unlucky when he was barged over whilst set to burst through on goal. Luckily for Matthew Snoddy who committed the foul, he seemed to be saved by two covering players otherwise he’d have been sent off.
Snoddy then almost found the net at the other end minutes later. It was a well-worked break, with the ball being crossed in from the left and Peter Campbell setting up Snoddy with a neat backflick but the midfielder’s shot was deflected just wide of the far post.
Glenavon should really have scored a third when quick left winger Peter Campbell picked out Matthew Fitzpatrick inside the box but with the goal at his mercy he fired wide from close range.
However, Gary Hamilton’s men would go on to take a 3-1 lead on the hour-mark. It was a deserved goal for striker Danny Purkis, who didn’t let the Linfield backline rest all match. He got on the end of a good cross from James Singleton from the right and the header was clinical dispatched into the far corner.
The Blues threatened twice in an attempt to reduce the arrears. Firstly, Jimmy Callacher had a header smartly tipped over from a good cross by Stephen Fallon. Then Andy Waterworth sent Shayne Lavery through from a flick-on, but Lavery fired over the bar on the stretch.
Linfield did then receive some hope with a goal back 20 minutes from time. It was a great goal if he meant it as Christy Manzinga fired a free-kick into the far top corner. The Frenchman made a bright impact off the bench on the left wing.
Glenavon could have sealed it when a ball in behind the Blues’ backline proved awkward for Chris Johns as the ball held up and he realised he wasn’t going to make it, which forced him to retreat and when Danny Purkis latched onto it he attempted to knock the ball around Johns who produced a great reactive save.
The Blues’ chance to draw level came from a good ball in from Niall Quinn but Andy Waterworth headed narrowly wide of the far post. All in all, there won’t be too many complaints because Glenavon deserved their victory, winning most of their individual battles.
Full Time: Glenavon 3 – 2 Linfield