Bradley brace secures derby delight for Glenavon

Glenavon bounced back from their Monday night defeat to get the better of their Mid Ulster rivals 4-1 at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

It was a much improved performance from Gary Hamilton’s side who bossed the game for long periods and could easily have won by a greater margin.

Kevin Braniff  scores during the Mid-Ulster derby.

Kevin Braniff scores during the Mid-Ulster derby.

The first chance fell to Joel Cooper after Daniel Kearns found some space on the far side but the Glenavon striker could not make contact and the ball was cleared. Glenavon were enjoying a fair amount of the ball in the early stages with Braniff and Kearns failing to hit the target and then a teasing cross in from Andy McGrory just failed to reach Cooper.

Braniff then darted forward and hit a thumping drive which keeper David Miskelly tipped over. On 15 minutes Bradley did well to cut the ball into the box for the in rushing Ciaran Martyn but the ball came back off the base of the post and from the rebound Kearns had an effort blocked.

The early pressure paid off on 27 minutes when the home side won a free kick just outside the box after Cooper’s run was halted by Michael Gault who picked up a yellow for his challenge. Cooper and Braniff stood over it, but it was Braniff who curled a delightful shot over the wall into the top corner of the net.

It was a lovely strike by Braniff to break the ice, but the second Glenavon goal on 35 minutes was even better. In a sweeping move Marshall, Braniff and Cooper linked up with Kearns and when the ball came in from Cooper it was Bradley sliding in at the far post for his 19th goal of the season.

Portadown made a bright start to the second half with Mark McCallister going close and then Chris Casement had a shot save by Tuffey’s feet.

After Gault brought down Bradley the inswinging free kick was punched clear by Miskelly but the Ports keeper injured himself when he fell to thegound. After treatment he was forced to come off with Marty Marron taking over in goal.

Bradley managed to get in behind the defence but was knocked over but the ref failed to spot it and minutes later Bradley rounded the keeper and scored only for the flag to go up. That was a huge turning point because within a minute Portadown pulled a goal back when Casement drove the ball wide of Tuffey and the ball went over the line after hitting the post.

However, the Lurgan Blues hit back and restored the two goal cushion on 69 minutes when Marron failed to hold a shot from Braniff and Bradley was quickly in to make it 3-1.

Bradley almost nipped in for his hat-trick when McGrory crossed but the ball flew just behind him. Gary Hamilton came on for Marshall on 83 minutes and his long ball found Cooper onside but when he pulled the ball back for Martyn the Ports defence cleared the danger.

The Ports were reduced to ten men on 71 minutes when Garrett barged into Cooper to pick up his second yellow of the game.

Glenavon were dominating the game now and Marron did well to tip a Hall free kick onto the bar and then in added time he made a brilliant save to keep out a Braniff close range header.

Right on the whistle Andy Kilmaratin nipped in at the back post to make it 4-1 after great work by Hall.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, McGrory, Braniff, Kearns, Martyn.

Subs: Lindsay, Hall, Sykes, O’Brien, Hamilton.