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Saturday 28 May 2016

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No dream comeback as Glenavon exit

By David Mason

Published 11/07/2014

Battle: Shane McCabe challenges
Ingimundur Niels Oskarsson
Battle: Shane McCabe challenges Ingimundur Niels Oskarsson

Gary Hamilton's Glenavon last night crashed out of the Europa League – and this time there were no excuses.

The Lurgan Blues were on a mission impossible after conceding three late goals against FH Hafnarfjordur in last week's first leg in Iceland.

Sadly, Hamilton's boys started last night's return tie at Mourneview Park the way they finished in Iceland – conceding a killer away goal after only three minutes when Niels Ingimundur Oskarsson was presented with a gifted chance that he gleefully accepted.

Striker Gauti Kristjan Emilsson struck a second before the break, but Glenavon staged a remarkable second half revival when new signings Kevin Branifff and Eoin Bradley struck in the space of two minutes.

But their dream of hanging on in Europe was snuffed out when that man Emilsson converted from the spot 21 minutes from time.

Hamilton made three changes to the team that shipped the three late strikes in Iceland, naming himself instead of the injury Andy McGrory; Ciaran Martin in place of Sammy McIlveen and goalkeeper Alan Blayney, for his debut, instead of James McGrath.

And, the former Linfield man was picking the ball out of the net after only three minutes following a comedy of errors in the Lurgan Blues' defence.

Olafur Pall Snorrason's innocent cross from the left was completely missed by skipper Kris Lindsay and Kyle Neill, leaving Oskarsson with a tap in at the back post.

Hafnarfjordur were always dangerous on the break and they almost struck again when Emilsson let fly from 30 yards – his effort screamed inches past with Blayney struggling.

But the visitors guaranteed their place in the next phase of the tournament when Emilsson latched on to Emil Palsson's defence splitting pass before ramming home a beauty on 37 minutes.

Glenavon did give their supporters something to cheer with a dramatic double whammy, starting with Braniff's strike and Bradley's equaliser.

The fightback was stopped in its tracks three minutes later when Emilsson was chopped down inside the box and his finish from the spot was clinical.

Glenavon: Blayney, Marshall, Lindsay (McKeown, 55 mins), Dillon, Neill, McCabe, Martyn (Sykes, 83 mins), Bradley, Hamilton (Rainey, 78 mins), Bates, Braniff. Unused subs: McCallion, McIlveen, Hoey, McGrath.

Hafnarfjordur: R Oskarsson, Reynolds, Hewson (Ingason, 75 mins), I Oskarsson, Palsson, Emilsson, Jonsson, Doumbia, Snorrason (Gudnason, 46 mins), Runarsson, Boovarsson ( Gudmundsson, 70 mins). Subs: Vidarsson, Vidarsson, Finnbogason, Bjornsson.

Referee: Sascha Amhof (Switzerland).

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