Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon just relieved to be in sixth round of Irish Cup

Moyola Park 2 - Glenavon 3

By William Steele

It was almost the stuff of dreams for Moyola Park.

The first ever winners of the Irish Cup had current holders Glenavon on the ropes as they raced into a two-goal lead thanks to Darren Walls and Chris Dowie before half-time.

But a fightback led by Kevin Braniff and sealed with a knockout blow in the 90th minute from Eoin Bradley sent a relieved Lurgan Blues home happy.

"It's back to the bread and butter in the league next week for us," said Moyola boss Mervyn Pattison.

"I've told the players that if we can take that momentum through there's no reason why we can't kick on and strive for promotion, which is what this club is striving to do.

"We had a game-plan at the start of the game and the boys stuck to it well," he added.

"It worked well because we got ourselves into a great position at half time.

"We knew Glenavon were going to come out at us in the second half and throw everything at us, but to concede an early goal at the start of the second half, two minutes in, was a key point in the game.

"We were looking to dig deep and defend as well as we can and maybe hit them on the counter attack. We always thought that we might get one wee chance in the second half but it never really materialised."

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton, who brought himself and midfielder Shane McCabe on at the break to shake things up, admitted he thought the club's defence of the cup was all but over, but praised Moyola for giving his men a stern test.

"They played well and credit to them, they gave us a game," said Hamilton.

"In the first half they stuck to their game-plan, scored two goals from their three chances and in the end were unfortunate not to force extra time.

"The other side of the coin was that in the second half we dominated on chances, set pieces and it was only a matter of time before we got the chances which got us back into the game.

"I thought we were heading for extra time but thankfully we got the goal right at the end to send us through."

Glenavon's Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown also faced a sweat to make it through to the next round; Chris Casement banking the all-important extra time goal to finally sink the brave challenge of PSNI, who had cancelled Gary Twigg's early opener out with a Kyle Agnew leveller.

Elsewhere, Darren Boyce marked his one year anniversary with Ballymena United with a brace of goals as the Sky Blues overcame Crumlin Star.

Last season's runners-up had too much for the Amateur League outfit, who were always facing an uphill battle after conceding a fifth minute penalty that was converted by Matthew Tipton.

Gary McCutcheon doubled the advantage before the half-hour and Boyce then wrapped up things late on with a quickfire double of his own, with Star reduced to 10-men when skipper Paul Berne chopped down Allan Jenkins in the build-up to Boyce's second of the day.

"They put up a good fight but it was good for us to get a few goals and a clean sheet because we haven't had many of them this season," said Boyce.

"The three strikers all got goals and it was a good win and keeps the confidence up for the boys."

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