Glenavon go from ‘abysmal’ to ‘outstanding’ with 90 minutes that set template
Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton described as ‘outstanding’ a performance by his players that secured Saturday’s share of the spoils from the visit by defending champions Linfield.
With a league loss to Carrick the Glenavon boss considered ‘abysmal’ the previous home Premiership clash, a point picked up at Mourneview Park marked a step back on track.
The loss of a player on each side to red after an incident around 50 minutes led to Linfield grabbing a greater grip on the game - with Andrew Doyle and Christy Manzinga each dismissed.
“You speak to your player (Doyle) and hope he’s telling you the truth...he said he was tangled up in the legs of Manzinga and walking backwards trying to get out of them,” said Hamilton. “He said when he’s walked backwards he has caught him but it was totally accidental and no malice.
“When you see a straight red card it can only be for a stamp, we will watch it back and if Doyler’s done it (a stamp), he’s let the boys down and will get a fine (but) he’s said it wasn’t intentional and you have to take your player at his word.
“I’m delighted off a really solid performance...we showed another side of us today which we haven’t really shown this season.
“When we did come under pressure we put bodies on the line and defended set-pieces.
“They got a lot of territory and corner-kicks out of it (the red cards) but, thankfully, we stood tall, were tight to our men in the box and cleared the first ball and cleared the second ball.
“It was a game of two halves, probably - the first half we were by far the better team and created the better chances.
“They didn’t really work our goalkeeper.
“Then the game changed with the two sendings off in the second half as the pitch became more open with 10 v 10.
“I thought our whole defence was a solid back four and goalkeeper, Michael O’Connor was outstanding in midfield and did well with Robert Garret and we asked Matthew Snoddy to do us a turn out the right for extra work-rate,” said Hamilton. “The way Conor McCloskey played today was quality...but he has that and all he needs is to keep up that work-rate.
“Then the front two led the line brilliantly, especially in the first half.
“We managed to see the game out and get a 0-0 draw, which over the 90 minutes was a fair result as I don’t think we were dominated by any stretch of the imagination in what was a 50-50 game.
“But in terms of on the ball, possession of the ball and pressing we were outstanding in the first half.
“In the second half, you flip it around and Linfield were very good in that period.
“Against a team like Linfield with a big support you need to take advantage when on top and get that goal...we didn’t do that, we had a few chances without anything clear but they didn’t either.”
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