Blues go top with away win

Gareth McKeown celebrates on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Gareth McKeown celebrates on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

A devastating three-goal blast in nine second half minutes saw Glenavon win convincingly at Drumahoe after Eoin Bradley had given the visitors a 1-0 half time lead.

Gareth McKeown drilled in the second in the 52nd minute before Bradley competed a double four minutes later and Ciaran Martyn sealed the victory when he forced the ball home in the 61st minute.

There were three changes to the starting line-up with Andy McGrory and Kyle Neill out injured, Shane McCabe returned from suspension at the expense of Andy Kilmartin, who dropped to the bench and Gary Hamilton handed a debut to ex-Derry City midfielder Tony McNamee who started on the left wing. His other signing from last week, striker Darren Forsyth, was on the bench.

Bradley opened the scoring in the 33rd minute after Kevin Braniff’s ran down the left and his cross from inside the box was parried by Eugene Ferry straight to Bradley who tapped it in at the far post.

Earlier Alan Blayney had made three superb saves to deny O’Flynn twice and a close range Paddy McLaughlin shot. In the sixth minute he parried a shot from the Stute striker with Stephen Curry blasting the rebound high over the bar.

Five minutes later he saved from the home skipper’s effort after a corner had been knocked back into the Glenavon box. His third save was arguably the best, the big keeper stretching to tip O’Flynn’s drive onto the bar.

Ciaran Martyn tested Ferry with a 12th minute shot that took an awkward bounce in front of the keeper, Bradley’s free kick deflected off the end of the wall and flashed just wide of the post.

Martyn could have scored from the resulting corner after Murphy headed it back from the far post, Kris Lindsay, at the other post nodded it back into the middle of the goal but Martyn couldn’t get either power or direction on his header to beat Ferry from 6 yards.

Winkie Murphy had to go off four minutes from the break, appearing to pull up with a hamstring injury, Eddie McCallion coming on to replace him.

In the final minute of the half it should have been 2-0 when Bradley held off his marker to get onto a through ball and square it in the box to Ciaran Caldwell but he blazed over from 14 yards.

Gareth McKeown doubled the lead in the 52nd minute when he drilled the ball into the roof of the net after the Stute defence failed to clear Braniff’s corner.

Four minutes later it was 3-0 as Bradley won the ball on the half way line before laying it off and racing on into the box to stroke it into the bottom corner from Braniff’s precise cross.

Ciaran Martyn got his 4th goal of the season when he slid the ball in from close range after the home defence failed to clear another Braniff corner and Ciaran Caldwell nodded it back into the six yard area.

The home side pulled a goal back in the 68th minute when two subs combined, Declan McKeever crossing from the left to Jordan Armstrong who chested it down and smashed the ball home from six yards. There was nothing that Blayney could do to save that one.

Institute: Ferry, McLaughlin (c), Scoltock, Crown, Toland, Young, Curry, Walsh, Henderson, O’Flynn, Doherty. Subs: McKeever, Ballard, McFadden, Armstrong, Gallagher

Cautions: Henderson 53, McLaughlin 74

Goals: Armstrong 68

Glenavon: Blaney, McKeown, Murphy, Lindsay (c), Marshall, McNamee, McCabe, Martyn, Caldwell, Bradley, Braniff. Subs: McCallion, Kilmartin, Hamilton, Forsyth, Hoey

Goals: Bradley 33, 56, McKeown 52, Martyn 61

Referee: Mervyn Smyth