Away form cause for concern

Glenavon's Robbie McDaid sent off.
Glenavon's Robbie McDaid sent off.
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GLENAVON have now been beaten in nine successive games away from Mourneview Park.

The Blues’ away form has been very poor this season and continued last Saturday as they limped to a dismal 3-1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Portadown.

Right from the off, it wasn’t hard to see how they have struggled so badly on the road as they seemed to invite Portadown forward, simply looking unable to break out of their own half.

It was all a far cry from two weeks previous when they were thumping Ballymena 7-0. The venue has seemed to make all the difference this year though and away from their Mourneview Park pitch, Glenavon should have been beaten by a greater margin on Saturday afternoon.

The Ports camped themselves deep into Glenavon’s half for the entirety of the first half and were deservedly 2-0 ahead at the break.

Lively winger Sean Mackle opened the scoring on 13 minutes. He burst past Kyle Neill all too easily and then slid a finish in at the near post, raising questions over how easily he found a way past Davey O’Hare.

Portadown felt they should have had a penalty on 22 minutes when Mark Patton and Eddie McCallion tangled in the area but referee Arnold Hunter gave a free-kick the other way.

That wasn’t to deter Ronnie McFall’s side, who kept pouring forward and O’Hare did well to stop Sean Mackle after Kevin Braniff’s deflected shot fell kindly for him at the back post.

O’Hare was soon beaten again though as the outstanding Darren Murray doubled his side’s advantage. Chris Casement’s long ball set him clear of Glenavon’s AWOL defence and he calmly lobbed a neat finish over O’Hare and into the net.

After the break, things didn’t get much better for the visitors. Only a fantastic last ditch tackle from Mark Haughey stopped Braniff making it 3-0 on 55 minutes after the forward had neatly rounded O’Hare.

However, Haughey wasn’t there to save his side six minutes later as the Ports again broke quickly, releasing Braniff on the same right side from where he tucked the ball under the advancing O’Hare.

Ciaran Martyn did give Glenavon some hope with 18 minutes to go as he capitalised on a gaffe by Portadown’s defence. Andy McGrory swung the ball into the box and when David Miskelly spilled it, his defenders got all tangled up, ran into each other and left Martyn with a simple tap-in finish.

For just a brief moment it seemed that Glenavon might find a way back into the match but just two minutes later, those chances were thumped into the stand as Martyn couldn’t keep his volley from Guy Bates’ knockdown on target.

Things went from bad to worse for the Blues soon after as young substitute Robbie McDaid was rather unfortunately given a straight red card. He slid in with Miskelly, catching the goalkeeper just after the ball had gone and was promptly given his marching orders.

After that, Portadown could really have turned the screw but O’Hare made two fantastic saves from Murray. On 83 minutes, the striker powered a header at goal but O’Hare did fantastically to tip it onto the bar before he sprung to his right to push his final effort past the post.

PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Mackle, Ramsey, Gartland, Redman, Casement, McNeill, McCafferty, Braniff’s, Murray, Patton.

Unused Subs: McArdle, Ryan Burns, Lecky, Andrew Burns, Stewart.

GLENAVON: O’Hare, Shannon, Haughey, Lindsay (McGrory 66), Neill, McCallion, Kilmartin, Martyn, Hamilton (Turkington 72), Bates, Farren (McDaid 72).

Unused Subs: Doherty, Gardiner.