Goalkeeper Andy Coleman broke Linfield hearts in this absorbing IRN-BRU League Cup tie against Linfield at Windsor Park last night.
Coleman emerged the hero in a sudden death penalty kick shootout — saving three times from the spot — to dump David Jeffrey’s high flyers out of the competition after the game finished scoreless after 120 minutes.
It’s the second year Coleman has denied the Blues in this tournament. He also saved three penalties for Newry last season. This time he denied Rory Patterson, Robert Garrett and Damien Curran. Defender Mark Turkington also emerged with distinction. He scored his first ever goal for Marty Quinn’s team — his decisive spot kick booked a place in today’s quarter final draw.
Jay Magee, Brendan Shannon, Conor Hagan, Niall Henderson and Chris Lavery all converted from the spot.
Blues skipper Michael Gault missed out after picking up a foot injury in the Premier League win over Coleraine. Chris Casement was drafted in – the only change from the weekend.
In contrast, Glenavon boss Quinn wielded the axe following his team’s dismal display against Crusaders. Coleman replaced Davy O’Hare, while Mark Miskimmin, Kevin Kelbie and Turkington were all handed a starting shirt.
Defender Shannon returned from suspension.
The struggling Lurgan Blues — they have won only once in the league — were forced to absorb
some early pressure. Former Northern Ireland international Patterson was right out of luck on 11 minutes when his wicked 20 yard drive was deflected inches over the crossbar.
Linfield thought they had broken the deadlock nine minutes later when Patterson’s craft created an opening for the in-form Aaron Burns, who thumped the ball under the body of Coleman.
But the celebrations were dampened as the referee’s assistant was waving for offside.
In a rare venture forward, Glenavon’s Miskimmon was surprisingly given freedom inside the box and looked a likely scorer until Albert Watson produced a stunning block when the striker was about the pull the trigger.
Jeffrey’s boys were right out of luck on 30 minutes. Casement’s cross found the head of Watson but the big defender held his head in frustration after watching his effort crash off the base of the post.
It was backs-to-the wall stuff at times. Shannon again rescued Glenavon three minutes from the break, throwing himself at a shot from Michael Carvill. And from Casement’s corner kick, Burns headed over the crossbar from only two yards.
Linfield keeper Alan Blayney was called into action for the first time on 52 minutes, superbly scooping the ball off the toe of Kelbie, who was sent hurtling into the box by Kyle Neill.
Sub Philip Lowry made an immediate impact following his introduction for Casement on 61 minutes. His pinpoint pass sent Patterson clear on the right, but the low cross evaded everyone inside the six yard box.
Patterson had the home fans off their seats on 73 minutes when his thumping drive from the edge of the box flashed inches over.
Coleman produced a magical save three minutes from time as the Blues chased a winner. Jim Ervin’s cross was met by Mark McAllister, but Coleman got down brilliantly to beat away the effort.
Carvill was presented with a gift opportunity in extra time but he fluffed his lines when it mattered, completely scuffing his shot.
Linfield: Blayney, Douglas, Curran, Carvill, A Burns (Fordyce 102), Patterson, Garrett, Ervin, Watson, McAllister, Casement (Lowry 61). Subs: Murphy, BJ Burns, Browne.
Glenavon: Coleman, Shannon, Neill (Lavery 106), Jay Magee, Henderson, Harpur, Miskimmin (Graham 79), Kelbie (O’Carroll 79), Jon Magee, Hagan, Turkington. Subs: D Magee, Finlay.
Referee: R Dunlop (Carrickfergus).