Glenavon beaten by late goal

Glenavon's Mark Sykes with Linfield's Stephen Fallon during Saturday's Danske Bank Premiership game at Mourneview Park.
Glenavon's Mark Sykes with Linfield's Stephen Fallon during Saturday's Danske Bank Premiership game at Mourneview Park.

With nothing to play for Glenavon and Linfield still served up an entertaining game which ended in a 1-0 win for the visitors at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

It will be much more intense next weekend, but manager Gary Hamilton will be delighted with the all round performance from his much changed team.

Both sides did not field any of the players who are likely to start in the Irish Cup final next Saturday.

The Lurgan Blues had four young reserve players making their full debuts in Carter Savage, Alex McIlmail, Robbie Norton and Conall Delaney.

Gary Hamilton played in an unfamiliar centre back role alongside Carter with Daniel Kearns and Mark Sykes getting their first starts since being kept out through injury.

Linfield had two early chances with Ross Clarke lashing his shot over the bar and then Mark Stafford rose unchallenged to head over.

Glenavon had a great chance to take the lead on 18 minutes with Sykes playing a great ball in behind for Fabio but he lost his footing as he was about the pull the trigger.

A few minutes later Fabio’s charge on goal was brought to a halt by Stafford who picked up a yellow for his challenge. Hamilton rolled the free kick to Sykes and his shot was deflected for a corner. The unlucky Fabio then had two shots blocked in a goalmouth scramble, first by Stafford and then by keeper Ross Glendinning.

Then Linfield threatened to find the opening goal on 32 minutes after a Clarke shot clipped off Ruairi Croskery but rolled wide of the post.

Even though there was little at stake both teams tried to get the ball down and play football with Glenavon’s Delaney and Burns catching the eye.

There was a lively start to the second half with McLellan dragging a shot wide of goal for the Belfast Blues and then at the other end Norton’s shot was well held by the Linfield keeper.

Norton ended a bright home attack with a snapshot that deflected wide after hitting a Linfield defender.

A neat move saw Kearns, McGrory and McIlmail ended with Sykes turning and getting in a shot but it went straight to the keeper.

With eight minutes to go Linfield grabbed the winner from a corner with Croskery nipping in at the near post to glance a header past McGrath.

Glenavon: McGrath, McGrory, Hamilton, Sykes, O’Brien, Kearns, Delaney, McIlmail, Burns, Savage, Morgan.

Subs: Norton, McKeown, Robinson, McKenna, Murphy.