Night to forget for Coleraine as Andrew Mitchell fires home double for Glenavon

Glenavon's Andrew Mitchell makes it 1-0 last night
Glenavon's Andrew Mitchell makes it 1-0 last night

Andrew Mitchell increased the concerns for Coleraine boss Rodney McAree as Glenavon proved commanding to collect full points in a 4-0 win.

Mitchell’s development into one of the most feared forwards in the Irish League featured significant progress under the guidance of McAree and Dungannon Swifts.

Both Mitchell and McAree moved on from the Swifts in search of higher stakes - with the former finding the net twice against the latter’s side to enhance an unbeaten Danske Bank Premiership home record for Glenavon stretching back in response to an opening-day defeat.

Coleraine have struggled for consistency since McAree’s appointment and will reflect on improved passing that sparked hope of a first-half reward but without any cutting edge.

Strength and skill by Eoin Bradley resulted in a threaded pass towards Jamie McGonigle but Jonny Tuffey raced out to the edge of the box to make the vital clearance.

Bradley had earlier worked hard to create space in the area but Glenavon managed to block the danger, with an early Darren McCauley corner-kick flashing across the face of goal without a final touch.

The Bannsiders’ positive play proved short of an end product - an accusation that could not be levelled at Glenavon as Mitchell entered the break with a brace.

Clever work on 12 minutes carved open Coleraine as Andy Hall released Conor McCloskey to race towards the target down the right. McCloskey’s low delivery was swept home with a close-range finish on the run by Mitchell.

Coleraine came close to conceding a second when Hall nipped in to rob veteran defender Steven Douglas but his angled shot was stopped by Chris Johns.

Glenavon had snapshots of goal as Ben Doherty flashed a low free-kick into the heart of the box then fired into the side-netting.

If Mitchell’s first goal was a study in traditional centre-forward finishing, his second owed much to good fortune.

Rhys Marshall’s curling pass dropped behind the Bannsiders’ backline for Mitchell to collect. The striker weighed up his options and delivered a spinning ball towards the target from wide on the right that looped over the back-peddling Johns to double the tally for both player and team.

Hall ended the half with an audacious attempt directly from a corner-kick which curled goalwards but bounced off the crossbar.

Mitchell was presented with time and space to wrap up his hat-trick just three minutes into the second half when Tuffey’s upfield punt was flicked on by McCloskey to hand the striker an opening.

However, Johns produced a fine save, with strong hands pushing the drive over the target.

Johns had little opportunity to stop Glenavon’s third goal on 67 minutes.

Mitchell was involved in the build-up play as his pass to substitute Stephen Murray was fed on for Mark Sykes to collect and burst into the box before a composed finish by the highly-rated ace, who appears in line for a January move into professional football across the water.

Mitchell pulled up during the approach play to number three and left the pitch to a standing ovation from the home support in search of treatment - with Coleraine ending the evening also nursing pains.

Mitchell’s replacement, Jordan Jenkins, added a final insult to that Coleraine injury by reacting to a deflected Murray shot with a poacher’s finish in the box.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, King, Marron, Marshall, Mitchell (Jenkins, 69), Sykes (Harmon, 85), Hall, Clingan, McCloskey (Murray, 54), Singleton, Doherty.

Subs: Taylor, Grace, Larmour, Muir.

COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Harkin (Gawne, 83), Douglas (Mullan, 81), McCauley, Lowry, Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, McGonigle (Parkhill, 59), Canning.

Subs: Doherty, McLoughlin, Crown, Whiteside.

Referee: Lee Tavinder.