Glenavon 2 Crusaders 2
Glenavon were denied a winning start to the new season in an entertaining encounter with Crusaders.
Kris Lindsay and Eoin Bradley put Glenavon 2-1 ahead, but Jordan Owens struck a fine goal to leave honours even in a game which saw many heated exchanges.
Eoin Bradley carved out the first chance of the game with a neat run and squared the ball to Guy Bates, he brought it onto his right foot and drilled a hard low shot just wide of the post.
Skipper Kris Lindsay did have the ball in the net a few minutes later from a corner but it was ruled out for pushing in the box.
With 14 minutes gone fans were ready to cheer Kevin Braniff’s first goal for the club when he was played in by Bates but he failed to get enough power on the ball and O’Neill made the save.
After soaking up the early pressure the Crues forged ahead on 18 minutes and it was with a bit of good fortune. After an Owens header was cleared off the line by Lindsay, the ball broke to Diarmuid O’Carroll on the edge of the box and his scuffed shot went in off the post.
Glenavon came out strong in the second half and this time made it count. Kyle Neill touched the ball to Braniff, his brilliant switch pass in behind the Crues defence fell perfectly for Eoin Bradley who lifted the ball over the advancing keeper.
The goal lifted the Lurgan Blues and they took the lead on 71 minutes when Guy Bates headaed the ball back into the area and Lindsay got the vital touch. They almost scored again two minutes later when Bates held off Leeman and curled a great ball over the top, Bradley ran clear but his shot was saved.
Owens thumped in a brilliant effort from the edge of the box to deny Glenavon, but the draw was perhaps a fair outcome.
Glenavon; Singleton, Neill, Marshall, Lindsay, Dillon, Kilmartin, Bradley, McCabe, Braniff, Bates.
Subs: Hamilton, Foley, McGrory, Blackledge and Mulvenna.