Belfast Telegraph

Tommy Breslin beaming as Cliftonville run riot

By Gordon Hanna

Glenavon 2 Cliftonville 5: Cliftonville went on the rampage at Mourneview Park last night to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 13 matches.

It was a feisty affair and while Glenavon clawed their way back from two goals down to equalise just short of the hour mark, once Martin Murray eased Tommy Breslin's marauders into a 3-2 lead the game was done and dusted.

Reds boss Breslin said: "We went 2-0 up early on and it should have been straight forward after that but it wasn't.

"Glenavon came at us, but my players showed character and with three points and five goals we are a bit nearer where we want to be so I'm delighted."

Red hot Cliftonville needed just eight minutes to show their intent on keeping pace with neighbours Crusaders in the pursuit of league leaders Linfield.

Glenavon had penalty claims turned down when Shane McCabe went down in a tackle by Martin Murray and within 60 seconds Andy Coleman was picking the ball out of his net at the other end.

It all stemmed from a poor clearance from Reds keeper Conor Devlin, but when Barry Johnston intervened to provide a through ball, hot shot Joe Gormley galloped through a static home defence to drill past the cruelly exposed Coleman.

A minute later Cliftonville fans were on their feet again to celebrate Gormley's second of the night and his 27th of the season.

Liam Boyce teed up the chance with a header and with the home defence again wide open, Gormley made no mistake.

Devlin denied Ciaran Martyn at the expense of a corner as Glenavon made valiant efforts to get back into the game.

And their efforts were rewarded on the half-hour when Andy McGrory, set up by Martyn, raced in from the wing and angled his shot low into Devlin's right hand corner.

Glenavon were now in more threatening mood although Gormley twice squandered chances to complete his hat-trick.

Coleman thwarted him with a save at the striker's feet and when Boyce fired the ball across goal Gormley somehow conspired to clip the ball over the bar from no more than five yards.

Cliftonville survived further claims for a penalty as Eamon Seydak blocked Gary Hamilton's cross, but Glenavon did draw level in the 59th minute.

The goal climaxed a slick build-up involving McGrory, Gareth McKeown and finally McCabe, whose delicate lob into the goalmouth allowed Martyn to lift the ball over the advancing Devlin.

Cliftonville's third, on 67 minutes, was just as clever. Keeper Devlin tossed the ball to Ronan Scannell and he in turn released Gormley whose low cross from the right evaded Coleman's attempts to cut it out and Murray pounced at the back post.

Ryan Catney made it 4-2 five minutes from the end after excellent work by Boyce and substitute Chris Curran. There was still time for another sub, Ciaran Doherty, to volley home a fifth in the 89th minute and it took a marvellous save by Coleman to prevent Seydak from making it six.

Glenavon: Coleman; McKeown (McCallion 78 mins), Marshall, Murphy, Neill; McGrory, McCabe, Martyn, Patton; Hamilton (Hamilton 87 mins), Rainey (Bates 70 mins). Subs: Lindsay, Kilmartin.

Cliftonville: Devlin; Scannell, McGovern, Smyth Seydak; Donnelly (Curran 68 mins), Catney, Johnston, Murray (Doherty 73 mins), Gormley, Boyce (McMullan 87 mins). Subs: O'Carroll, Cosgrove.

Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Dundonald).

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