Martyn bags hat-trick to stun champions

Ciaran Martyn’s first ever hat-trick in senior football earned Glenavon a dramatic point in a 3-3 thriller at Solitude.

The Reds looked to be on their way to victory after they hit back to lead 3-1 and cancel out Martyn’s opener for the Lurgan Blues.

Glenavon's Ciaran Martyn opens the scoring at Solitude.

Glenavon's Ciaran Martyn opens the scoring at Solitude.

However, Glenavon never gave up and Martyn’s late leveller in added time is the perfect way to bounce back after last Saturday’s poor performance against Dungannon.

It had all started so well for Gary Hamilton’s side who raced into an early lead thanks to a superb finish by midfielder Martyn.

The Lurgan Blues have not won at the home of the champions in the last ten outings looking like the same old story again as the Reds hit back.

Glenavon had the first sight of goal on four minutes with Guy Bates turning his marker and rolling the ball into the path of Eoin Bradley but his first time shot flew just wide.

The visitors stunned the champions on eight minutes when Eoin Bradley broke clear and spotted the in-rushing Ciaran Martyn who hit the ball first time from 18 yards out and Conor Devlin was beaten.

Andy McGrory found himself free at the back post after a lob across the area by Bates but he hit the side netting.

The Reds were level on 19 minutes and it was all too easy for Joe Gormley as he drew away from Neill to blast the ball past Alan Blayney.

Cliftonville struck again on 22 minutes as Gormley swooped at the far post after Blayney had pushed out a shot from Curran.

Glenavon went close to making it 2-2 after Bradley glanced a header wide when he connected with Kyle Neill’s cross.

There was a lively start to the second half with Cliftonville’s Catney clipped a shot just over and at the other end Bradley’s shot from distance clipped the top of the bar.

Glenavon had a chance to try out a free kick routine on 54 minutes and it almost worked as Neill ran over the ball, Braniff floated it over and Martyn was a fraction offside.

On 52 minutes Curran got in behind the Glenavon defence but Blayney made a fine save.

Conor Dillon was forced to retire with an ankle injury, Eddie McCallion coming off the bench.

Braniff did well on the left wing to turn away from his marker and get in a fine cross but Bates could not get on the end of it.

The Reds thought they had sealed the points on 65 minutes when a free kick by keeper Devlin fell perfectly for David McDaid who shrugged off both Neill and McKeown to fire home.

With six minutes left Martyn nipped in with his second to set up a frantic finish. Gary Hamilton came on for Braniff and clipped the top of the bar with a dipping free kick, Andy McGrory headed the rebound over.

That was a warning Glenavon were going to press for the equaliser and it came in the first minute of added time. Hamilton’s throw was flicked on by sub Adam Foley and Martyn ghosted in to force the ball home.

A great finish and a great point for the Lurgan Blues.

Glenavon: Blayney, McKeown, Neill, Bates, Bradley, Dillon, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, McCabe, Martyn.

Subs: McCallion, Kilmartin, Hamilton, Foley, Hoey.