IRISH LEAGUE: Four goal thriller as Glenavon held at home by Cliftonville

Action from the Glenavon versus Cliftonville tussle
Action from the Glenavon versus Cliftonville tussle

Glenavon surrendered a two-goal lead during a hectic first half to draw 2-2 with Cliftonville at Mourneview Park.

Guy Bates and Andy McGrory had the Blues 2-0 ahead but David McDaid and Stephen Garrett clawed the visitors level - and all before the half-time whistle.

During an end to end first period, a mixture of occasionally flowing football and defensive frailties swirled into a potent concoction of goalmouth action that deservedly ended level.

The action kicked off when Jonny Tuffey made a glorious one-handed save to tip David McDaid’s vicious half-volley onto the post.

Just a minute later, his opposite number showed none of the same composure. A cheeky bobble didn’t help but Peter Burke’s attempt to deal with a back-pass simply dinked the ball to Guy Bates, who made no mistake in converting his sixth goal of the season.

Three minutes later and Cliftonville’s self-destruction completed its second phase. This time Andy McGrory was left with a simple finish after the otherwise impenetrable Jason McGuinness inadvertently headed on a long Singleton throw.

However, Glenavon have just one clean sheet in their last eight now and perhaps a collapse was unsurprising.

The visitors fired a warning shot when Garrett neglected the chance to tee up McDaid for what would have been a simple finish.

On 22 though, the Reds provided the first flowing move of the match. It paid dividends as McDaid tapped home Donnelly’s cross, all set up by a fine Knowles through ball.

It was the tireless and classy Knowles who put the second on a plate for Garrett, his fabulous cross to the back post duly converted by a grateful Stephen Garrett.

Cliftonville keeper Burke, earlier the villain, then begun his redemption with the travelling support.

He had to be at his best to deny a sweetly struck Moorhouse volley and, the other side of the break, he bettered that stop when he denied in-form Mark Patton’s 20 yard curler.

Glenavon flew out of the blocks in that second period. James Singleton was also denied while Ciaran Martyn’s effort was cleared off the line by Martin Donnelly.

As the half wore on, the Blues continued to set their camp well inside Cliftonville’s half. The home fans felt the opposition skipper should have seen red too, when they claimed McGuinness caught Moorhouse in the face off the ball. Linesman Gareth Eaking saw it - the verdict? Yellow card.

The Reds threatened to steal it with a late rally but closest to a last gasp winner was Guy Bates, who slide desperately yet in vain as the ever-impressive Rhys Marshall whipped in a cross.

A draw it was - still enough for Glenavon to get back into the top six while Cliftonville move within a point of second-placed Linfield.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Singleton, Elebert, Marron, Marshall, Patton, Sykes, Martyn, McGrory, Bates, Moorhouse (O’Brien 85).

Subs: Kelly, Neill, Cooper, Hall.

CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Cosgrove, McGuinness, McGovern, Ives, M Donnelly (Lavery 76), Catney, Knowles, Garrett, McDaid (Winchester 85), Curran.

Subs: Mooney, A Donnelly, Reynolds.