Glenavon are through to the semi-finals of the Tennents Irish Cup, but they made hard work of it before seeing off Championship 1 side Loughgall 2-1 at Mourneview Park.
The visitors were under pressure from the start with Joel Cooper having a shot deflected for a corner and then a few minutes later Loughgall keeper Gareth Buchanan saved from Fabio’s goalbound header. A mistake at the back allowed an open shot on goal for Cooper but Buchanan dived to his left to prevent Glenavon from taking the lead.
Cooper had another chance at the far post but he could not reach Andy Hall’s cross.
Loughgall weathered the storm and by getting to grips with midfield began to exert some pressure on the Lurgan Blues forcing six corners which came to nothing.
Glenavon had to wait until the 38th minute to create another chance with Rhys Marshall working his way down the left wing, he cut inside and his cross was curling in until Richard Copeland dashed in to clear off the line.
The breakthrough Glenavon fans were waiting for finally came on 41 minutes when Hall’s cross was headed on by Kris Lindsay, the keeper got his hand to the ball but Fabio was lurking at the far post to stab the ball home.
A second goal almost came three minutes later with the ball breaking to Ciaran Martyn but his well struck effort clipped the post.
Glenavon started the second half the same as the first on the front foot with Sykes putting Fabio in, his cross into the box fell To Hall but his low drive was blocked.
Loughgall were reduced to ten men on 54 minutes when Richard Copeland was shown red for his rash tackle from behind on Fabio.
Martyn had a chance to make it 2-0 but his header went straight to the keeper. On 62 minutes Glenavon had a goal ruled out for offside when a shot from Kevin Braniff was pushed out to Martyn who did look to be in an offside position as he clipped the ball over the line.
The two goal cushion came on 66 minutes after Andy McGrory was hacked down in the box by Mark Carson and the Glenavon man got up and tucked away the penalty.
However, out of nothing Loughgall pulled a goal back 67 minutes when Daniel Ryan made a solo run, he found Stuart Mallen who appeared to handle the ball in the box but as Glenavon stopped he planted a low drive inside Johnny Tuffey’s right hand post.
Gary Hamilton replaced Braniff on 72 minutes as they tried to ease their way over the line with a third goal which almost came but Fabio somehow missed from a yard out from Hall’s cross.
With only one goal in it Glenavon were never comfortable but they made it to the final whistle.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Dillon, Lindsay, Marshall, Cooper, Hall, Sykes, McGrory, O’Brien, Braniff, Martyn.
Subs: Kilmartin, Patton, Hamilton, Elebert, Burns.