Fabio O’Brien came off the bench to salvage a point for Glenavon as they came from behind to finish 1-1 at Solitude.
It was no more than the Lurgan Blues deserved as they bossed the first half, failed to carry an advantage into the second, but despite going behind to a fine goal by Chris Curran, they fought back to earn a share of the spoils.
Fabio might have bagged all three points for Gary Hamilton’s side with a late chance going wide, but in the end a draw was perhaps the right result.
The first shot on goal came from the visitors when Kevin Braniff and Mark Sykes combined well with Braniff firing over the bar from 20 yards out.
Glenavon continued to impress with Andy Hall causing problems with his crosses and Braniff with Mark Sykes looked dangerous through the middle.
On 15 minutes a deep free kick by Hall smashed off the top of the bar, but keeper Peter Burke did well to beat the in rushing Kris Lindsay to the loose ball.
The game settled down as the Reds began to get into their stride with James Cosgrove flashing a header just wide of Jonny Tuffey’s goal.
On 28 minutes Glenavon suffered a blow when the impressive Braniff pulling up with a hamstring injury and Declan O’Brien came off the bench to replace him.
The home side were well in the game now but the Glenavon back line held firm and broke quickly with a couple of half chances falling to Kearns and Sykes before Lindsay met a Hall free kick but just failed to find the net.
The Reds made a positive start to the second half and after exerting pressure they took the lead on 55 minutes when Glenavon lost possession in their own half, the ball broke to Chris Curran who stepped to the right of Lindsay and drilled a low shot past Tuffey.
David McDaid almost doubled the lead in the next attack but his shot clipped off Simon Kelly and was chested out by Tuffey.
After soaking up the pressure Glenavon brought on Joel Cooper on 65 minutes and he played a major part in the equaliser. Hall released him down the left, his superb cross fell perfectly for Fabio to tap in.
After scoring the goal Glenavon suddenly looked more of a threat going forward but they could not turn the pressure into a clear strike on goal.
With four minutes to go Cooper delivered a superb cross and Fabio got his head to it but his effort lacked power to beat Burke.
Another chance fell to the visitors when Fabio put in Hall, his cross was half cleared, Cooper’s shot was spilled by the keeper but Fabio clipped the rebound wide.
Honours even in the end of what was a decent game of football.
Cliftonville: Burke, Ives, Flynn, Knowles, Curran, McDaid, Garrett, Smyth, Catney, Donnelly, Cosgrove.
Subs:McMullan, McGovern, C Murray, M Murray, George.
Glenavon:Tuffey, Neill, Kelly, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Marshall, Hall, Patton, Sykes, Braniff, Kearns.
Subs: McKeown, Cooper, Buckley, O’Brien.