Cooper downs Linfield in five goal thriller

Joel Cooper bagged a brace as Glenavon outgunned Linfield 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

The Lurgan Blues made it three wins on the trot and gained revenge for that 4-3 defeat at Windsor Park earlier this season.

Daniel Kearns scores the opening goal against  Linfield     during Saturday's Danske Bank Premiership match at Mourneview Park.'Picture by Brian Little/Presseye

Daniel Kearns scores the opening goal against Linfield during Saturday's Danske Bank Premiership match at Mourneview Park.'Picture by Brian Little/Presseye

Glenavon could not have had a better start with Daniel Kearns putting them ahead on seven minutes. It was a lovely goal. Joel Cooper played the ball down the line to Kearns who put Eoin Bradley clear, his lovely ball into the box found Kearns who fired past Ross Glendinning.

Bradley broke clear a few minutes later and cut the ball back for Andy Hall on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked and cleared.

Jonny Tuffey kept Glenavon ahead on 15 minutes with a superb save to deny Andy Waterworth but he was unable to prevent Jamie Mulgrew from making it 1-1 two minutes later with a spectacular strike from 25 yards out.

It turned a bit scrappy for next 10 minutes but Glenavon went close again when a Hall deep free kick was nodded across goal by Kris Lindsay but no-one could pounce and moments later Lindsay tried his luck with a shot that flew over the bar.

There was little between the teams but just before the break Kearns and Bradley put Cooper in the clear, his cross was heading for Bradley but Callacher managed to nip in and clear the threat. Then in the next attack Glendinning made a fine double save to deny Sykes and Cooper.

Within seconds of the restart Tuffey made a great save with his feet as Paul Smyth found space in the box to whip in a low shot.

Glenavon took the lead again on 49 minutes and it was a bit of quick thinking by Bradley that helped as he moved out of the way of Cooper’s low cross and the ball flew into the far corner of the net. Once again Glenavon could not hold on to the lead as the ball broke to Kirk Millar he drove an angled shot under Tuffey to make it 2-2.

Linfield enjoyed more of the ball at this stage but Glenavon had chances for a third goal with Hall heading wide and then Kearns scooped a shot over from the penalty spot.

Then Rhys Marshall drifted away from his marker but he could not get in a shot and tried to lay the ball off and Kelly scuffed a shot well wide.

With 15 minutes to go Glenavon struck the front for the third time as Hall’s free kick came back off the post and Cooper quicky smashed a shot into the net.

Linfield brought on former Glenavon striker Guy Bates but it was Glenavon who almost scored again as sub Gary Hamilton sent Hall away and with Sykes running into the box it just needed a pass but Hall’s attempt was deflected away.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Sykes, Kearns.

Subs: McKeown, Patton, McGrory, O’Brien, Hamilton.