Shakhtyor shatter Glenavon euro hopes

Glenavon gifted Shakhtyor Soligorsk two away goals in their first leg Europa League clash at Mourneview Park on Thursday night.

The visitors from Belarus won 2-1 as Gary Hamilton’s side reflect on what might have been had they not conceded at crucial times.

Glenavon's Conor Dillon goes close with a header on the Shakhtyor Soligorsk goal

Glenavon's Conor Dillon goes close with a header on the Shakhtyor Soligorsk goal

The plan was to close the opposition down and not give them an early goal, but that was in tatters on two minutes when Afanasyeu rifled home after James McGrath did well to block a shot from the breaking Yanush.

Glenavon tried to respond quickly and they had a great chance on 11 minutes when Simon Kelly directed a header into the box to unmarked Rhys Marshall but his weak finish was easily saved.

Then Marshall and Conor Dillon went close as they connected with long range frees kick from Andy Hall but both efforts were wide of the mark.

Kevin Braniff was doing his best to try and carve out a chance and things were looking much better for the Lurgan Blues when disaster struck. Ciaran Martyn lost the ball and Kamarouski ran clear to nip past McGrath and tap in for 2-0 on 30 minutes.

It should have been 3-0 when the same player latched onto a mistake by Andy Kilmartin but he smashed a shot off the post.

Within three minutes of the restart Eoin Bradley thought he had pulled a goal back after he brilliantly curled the ball over the keeper who was off his line but Rybak cleared his effort off the line.

Martyn then had a golden chance when he found himself a yard from goal but he failed to connect and the ball was cleared.

The game became rather scrappy until the 67th minute when Martyn had a great chance to score but he missed the ball with an air shot just a yard out.

Credit to Glenavon as never gave up and after Elebert headaed over and Dillon had an effort saved they were finally rewarded on 86 minutes. Bradley beat the advancing keeper to the ball, he delivered a cross to the far post and sub Mark Patton hit the roof of the net.

There was still time for an equaliser and another Patton cross just failed to reach Gary Hamilton.

In the end the visitors will feel they have one foot firmly in the next round while Glenavon can reflect on what might have been.

Glenavon: McGrath, Kelly, Kilmartin, Marshall, Bradley, Hall, Dillon, Braniff, Martyn, Elebert, Singleton.

Subs: McKeown, Neill, Lindsay, Sykes, Patton, Hamilton, Caldwell.