Cliftonville 0 Glenavon 2
Glenavon brought their long winless run to an end in fine form at Solitude last night — and exacted revenge on Cliftonville in the process.
The Reds had recorded two injury-time wins at Mourneview Park in the weeks building up to this contest but, once Tony Grant sent the visitors on their way last night, there looked little prospect of the hosts breaking Lurgan Blue hearts again.
Gary Hamilton made sure of things with a cool finish in the second-half, but full credit must go to Glenavon keeper Andrew Plummer who was a man inspired in the opening 45 minutes, producing a host of top saves including one from a Chris Scannell penalty.
Eddie Patterson marked his return from suspension by ringing the changes in a Cliftonville side which had lost on its previous two outings.
Chris Scannell, back from a ban of his own, led the line as expected but perhaps more surprising was the inclusion of rookie striker Martin Jones, evidently rewarded for an encouraging display from the bench against Coleraine at the weekend.
Early on, Glenavon’s Trevor Molloy saw his cross glide through a crowded penalty area and against the post.
Then the Reds hit the woodwork through a powerful Ciaran Donaghy header three minutes before Glenavon's 21st minute opener.
Molloy's delivery found Kyle Neill at the back post and he returned the ball into the middle where Grant lay in wait to force home.
Caught totally asleep at the back on 50 minutes, the Reds allowed Hamilton a clear run on goal and there was never any danger of him failing to find the net.
The Reds rallied but Glenavon comfortably held on for a very welcome — and well deserved — success.
CLIFTONVILLE: Connolly, Fleming, Hutton, Donaghy, C Scannell, Garrett, Seydak, Johnston, O'Connor, Jones, McVeigh. Subs: R Scannell (for Seydak, 70 mins), Burns (for Jones, 87 mins), Lynch, Donnelly (for C Scannell, 70 mins), Bannon.
GLENAVON: Plummer, Shannon, Neill, Magee, Grant, Molloy, Harper, Haughey, Turkington, Stewart, Hamilton. Subs: |McDonagh, King, Miskimmin, Costello, Brennan.
Referee: Alan Black (Antrim).