Late winner denies Glenavon point

Glenavon’s good run came to an end as Linfield took the honours 2-1 in a game packed with incident and red cards.

Referee Mervyn Smyth, who was at the centre of the celebration ‘Yes’ in the game against Glentoran a few weeks ago, sent Gary Hamilton and Linfield assistant Andy Todd from the dugouts and gave red cards to Kevin Braniff and Seanan Clucas after a melee in the dying minutes.

Glenavon'S Shane McCabe and Linfield's Stephen Lowry  in action.

Glenavon'S Shane McCabe and Linfield's Stephen Lowry in action.

There was a lively start with Conor Dillon making a timely intervention to deny Ross Clarke a shooting chance and then at the other end Kyle Neill got his shot away under pressure but it lacked power to beat Glendinning in the Linfield goal.

Linfield broke quickly and Waterworth teed up Morrow who struck the ball hard and low but Alan Blayney saved well with his feet.

Ciaran Caldwell cut open the Linfield defence on six minutes with a great ball to Bradley who steadied before rifling a shot which the keeper pushed away for a corner.

Glenavon had a great chance to open the scoring on 18 minutes when Braniff and Bradley linked up but Braniff’s effort was brilliant saved by the keeper.

Within sixty seconds the b all was in the net, but it was Linfield who nicked it with Andy Waterworth latched onto a nod down from Morrow and he drilled the ball wide of Blayney.

The visitors threatened again when Burns broke down the left and sent in a dangerous cross but with Waterworth ready to pounce Dillon hooked the ball away.

There was uproar from the home fans on 34 minutes when Gary Hamilton was sent from the dugout as referee Mervyn Smyth dished out a red card for dissent.

Glenavon almost levelled two minutes after the restart as Bradley cashed in on some slack defending but Glendinning produced a brilliant save to deny the Glenavon striker.

Another great chance fell to the home side on 57 minutes with Caldwell hitting a shot from 25 yards out but the ball hit Haughey on the line and looped over the bar.

The Lurgan Blues made a double substitution with Murphy and McGrory coming on for McNally and McKeown and the pressure off on 76 minutes. The Linfield keeper picked up a back pass to concede a free kick just seven yards from goal and Braniff drilled the ball past a packed goalmouth for the equaliser.

A few minutes later Caldwell was brought down in the box but strong claims for a penalty were waved away.

With six minutes to go Linfield hit the front again when Callacher got his head to Lowry’s free kick.

Then came a melee on the far side and when it was finally over Braniff and sub Clucas saw red.

Glenavon: Blayney, McKeown, Neill, Bradley, Dillon, Caldwell, Marshall, McNally, Braniff, McCabe, Singleton.

Subs: Murphy, Kilmartin, Hamilton, McGrory, Martyn.