IT’S now over two games since Glenavon last conceded a league goal, the first time that can be said since April 2011.
The Blues shut out Lisburn Distillery last Saturday on their way to a deserved 1-0 win that, like last week’s slender victory over Crusaders, it should have been by a greater margin.
A rampant first half display led to a plethora of chances but only Ciaran Doherty could find the net. Glenavon weren’t as dominant after the break but their stern defence managed to see out the victory, bagging another clean sheet.
Gary Hamilton’s men shot out of the starting blocks and the player manager could have opened the scoring on just two minutes. Kyle Neill’s low cross found the forward inside the six yard box but former Glenavon stopper Lee Windrum didn’t give him enough space to convert.
It was the first of many chances for Hamilton and strike partner Guy Bates, who was torturing the Whites’ defence. The Geordie forward beat Andy Hunter to create his own first chance of the match but his shot dragged narrowly wide of the far post.
Bates then dashed clear of Dermot McVeigh on 20 minutes and teed up Hamilton but he delayed and sent a pass back to Bates. The duo had waited too long and allowed Windrum to get back into position and make the save, the bumpy surface clearly on their minds.
Their blushes were spared just seconds later, however, as Conor Hagan’s low cross found Doherty unmarked and he couldn’t fail to convert at the back post.
It was a deserved lead for Glenavon as it had all been one way traffic at New Grosvenor and that continued until the break. Hamilton looked to be through on goal on 36 minutes but he strangely opted to try and tee up Kyle Neill and allowed Aaron Smyth to cut out the pass.
Typically solid left-back Marc Brown looked to punish Distillery from the back post before the break but his header from Neill’s cross was well saved by the busy Windrum, who also had to stop Conor Hagan’s long shot.
After the break, it was Distillery who piled on the pressure with Glenavon’s midfield temporarily gone missing.
The lively Jordan Hughes was the first to make Andy Coleman sweat but his effort flew narrowly wide.
It was a warning shot that the Blues failed to heed and Michael Halliday was just inches away from tapping in Gary Liggett’s shot soon after. Andy Hunter then went even closer, powering a header off the bar from Jonny Harkness’ corner.
However, the Blues still weren’t sparked into action and Gary Liggett tested Coleman on 54 minutes but his shot was well stopped. Distillery really should have been level after a disastrous 10 minutes from Glenavon but the visitors had by now rode the storm and managed to stem Distillery’s attacking flow.
At the other end, Bates tried a spectacular 20-yard dipper but it fell just too late to find the top corner. Hamilton seemed to take the idea from his strike-partner and tried one himself, almost causing Lee Windrum to spill the effort over the goal-line.
Bates soon got on the ball again with his quick feet causing problems for Distillery’s defence. He dazzled his way past his marker on a couple of occasions late on but Windrum made one vital save while the forward’s next effort was deflected just wide.
Distillery pushed on for a late equaliser but Liggett fired over from 10 yards, much to boss Tim McCann’s dismay before Brendan Shannon made a vital injury-time block to see out the win.
The effect of Glenavon’s new defensive partnership of Sean McCashin and Eddie McCallion was again there for all to see, another clean sheet just rewards for their sterling performance.