Deja Vu


That’s what Gary Hamilton called conceding straight after your team scores when Glenavon did it to hand the game to Ballymena last week.

And it was a double dose of the blushes for the Blues’ boss this week as Glenavon again conceded just minutes after drawing level, this time at the Oval.

Glenavon had been deservedly behind after a dire first half but a fantastic Marc Brown goal saw them get back into the game on 70 minutes.

However, after that they switched off and allowed Mark Clarke to net what proved to be the winner on 72 minutes.

In truth, the Blues wouldn’t have deserved anything from the game, especially after a horrific first 45 minutes. At times, it seemed the visitors were playing with eight men in defence as they sat far too deep. It was only a matter of time until the home side found the net.

Matty Burrows was given another chance to impress but the way his side set up, he didn’t have much hope of influencing the game. The front-man cut a lonely figure whilst the midfield dropped back and were merely an extension of Glenavon’s back four.

The Blues did, however, force the first chance of the game as Andy McGrory fired Burrows’ cross into the side netting.

From then on, it was all one-way traffic as Glenavon sat deep inside their own half.

In-form goalkeeper Andy Coleman continued his top shot-stopping, doing well to deny former Hull City winger Stuart Elliott’s well struck free-kick before also tipping Ciaran McGuigan’s drive round the post.

Coleman, however, couldn’t stop Richard Clarke’s trundling effort as the midfielder worked a shot from the edge of the area that was placed well enough to go in off the post.

A minute before the break, Coleman was again worked by Elliott who rocketed a header towards the bottom corner and the Glenavon stopper had to be at his best to deny the forward.

How the home side weren’t out of site was all down to Coleman. His team-mates owed him a big improvement in the second half.

Marc Brown and Andrew Mitchell were introduced at the break and the Blues did at least get more of a hold on the ball.

Kyle Neill was the first player to test stand-in Glentoran keeper Aaron Hogg and whilst his flicked header wasn’t much of a challenge, it was at least a signal that the Blues were starting to get forward.

At the other end, Glentoran still looked dangerous and Jim O’Hanlon should have put the game beyond Glenavon but, typically, Andy Coleman came out of the one-on-one dual victorious.

His save was rewarded minutes later when Marc Brown rose onto his toes and danced his way through the home defence before curling a neat finish into the bottom corner to peg the Glens back in a thrilling fashion.

However, the visitors’ joy was short-lived. Mark Clarke’s header from Stephen Carson’s corner was adjudged to have crossed the line with Coleman in no-man’s land and Brown just unable to keep it out.

In the closing minutes, Glenavon pressed forward but Hogg got a vital touch to Hamilton’s cross to tip it away from Andrew Mitchell who was waiting to nod home and earn his side a point.

It was the sloppy reaction to Brown’s goal that again cost Glenavon but that first half performance against an injury-stricken Glentoran will be the cause of huge concern. Many more repeats of that and it will be a long, hard season ahead.

GLENTORAN: Hogg, Kane, Callacher, M Clarke, Ward, Carson (Murray 77), R Clarke, McGuigan (McAlourm 71), Howland, O’Hanlon, Elliott (McComb 87).

Unused Subs: Gordon, Bradley.

GLENAVON: Coleman, Turkington (Brown 46), Lindsay, Haughey, McCallion, Neill (White 90), Doherty, Kilmartin, McGrory, Burrows (Mitchell 46), Hamilton.

Unused Subs: McCashin, Rogers.