Glenavon hit for seven by slick Crues

Fans enjoyed a ten goal feast at Mourneview Park but it was a painful outing for Glenavon as league leaders Crusaders won 7-3.

After a non eventful opening six minutes the Crues grabbed the opening goal with Paul Heatley bringing down a ball in the box, Rhys Marshall tried to get a tackle in but the ball broke kindly into the path of the Crues striker who fired into an empty net.

A mixed day for Glenavon's Rhys Marshall - a goal and a red card.

A mixed day for Glenavon's Rhys Marshall - a goal and a red card.

Glenavon should have levelled on 14 minutes when Kevin Braniff nipped past Josh Robinson but he dragged his shot wide.

The home side almost found a way back with a lovely move involving a number of players as Ciaran Martyn slipped a pass in behind for McGrory but his deep cross drifted out.

Crusaders had the ball in the net again on 20 minutes but Colin Coates was offside as he latched onto the ball following Alan Blayney’s superb save from Gavin Whyte.

The home side finally got the break they were looking for on 41 minutes when Bradley won a free kick after being pulled down by Robinson. Braniff floated over the free kick, Ciaran Martyn got in a free header but Sean O’Neill made the save, but Rhys Marshall pounced to level it.

However, having just got back into the game Glenavon switched off as Heatley broke wide on the left, he was allowed to deliver the cross and Gavin Whyte had gambled on the delivery and he drilled the ball home.

Having conceded a goal a minute before the break the last thing Glenavon wanted was to concede again early in the second half but that is exactly what unfolded. Richard Clarke played Heatley in and as he raced into the box he was caught by Marshall and referee Andrew Davey pointed to the spot and produced red for the Glenavon teenager.

Billy Joe Burns blasted home the spot kick to make it 3-1 and before Glenavon could gather themselves Jordan Owens drilled in Crusaders 100th goal of the season to end the contest.

A rare mistake by the Crues defence allowed Glenavon to pull a goal back. William Murphy played a free kick forward, no-one challenged and Martyn was free to nod the ball over the keeper.

The goal feast continued as Heatley put Whyte in the clear and he lobbed Blayney to make ti 5-2. Six goals in a 15 minute spell.

Glenavon, to their credit, refused to concede defeat and during a period of pressure a shot from Martyn hit the hand of Timmy Adamson and the penalty award allowed Braniff to make ti 5-3 as he sent O’Neill the wrong way.

Crusaders went on to add two more from Whyte and Heatley as they move a step closer to winning their first league title since 1997.

Glenavon:Blayney, McKeown, Murphy, Bradley, Caldwell, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, McCabe, Martyn, Singleton.

Subs: Lindsay, Kilmartin, Patton, Sykes, O’Brien.