Glenavon complete first objective
Glenavon 3 Coleraine 1: There were contrasting emotions in the respective Mourneview Park dressing rooms after Glenavon secured a top-six place with a deserved victory over Coleraine.
While Gary Hamilton's side were thrilled to celebrate their status in the Premiership's upper echelons, the Bannsiders were once again left to reflect on another afternoon when they pressed the self-destruct button – with Gary Browne the subject of manager Oran Kearney's ire.
The former Linfield striker was shown a straight red card with just 15 minutes on the clock for a needless kick-out at his one-time Windsor Park team mate William Murphy and Glenavon duly took full advantage with David Rainey rifling home the opening strike just one minute before the interval.
Despite being a man light, the visitors hit back with a well-taken Adam Mullan leveller 12 minutes after the interval after good work from Joe McNeill only for Ciaran Martyn to stroke the hosts back in front shortly afterwards.
And Martyn – no stranger to finding the net against the Bannsiders over the years – made absolutely sure of things in the closing exchanges when he seized upon Andy McGrory's cross to steer a perfectly-weighted volley beyond the despairing dive of goalkeeper Eugene Ferry.
"From Christmas we have been targeting a top six finish and we have achieved that," said a very satisfied Glenavon coach Nigel Law afterwards.
"Now we'll be setting ourselves new objectives to maintain the momentum.
"Obviously reaching the Irish Cup final would be nice so we'll continue to rest key players to give ourselves the best possible chance"
Coleraine boss Kearney, whose side have suffered a frustrating season at the wrong end of the Premiership table and suffered a heartbreaking Setanta Sports Cup exit at the hands of Dundalk last week, was understandably angry at this latest setback and made abundantly clear that Browne will face sanctions for his second dismissal in such a short space of time.
"It was a stupid action and to think he was just back from a previous suspension," he said.
"He'll learn the hard way. My actions will speak louder than words."
Glenavon: McGrath, Marshall, McCallion, Murphy, Singleton, McCaul (McGrory, 66 mins), Kilmartin, Martyn, Patton, Bates (Mulvena, 80 mins), Rainey (Hamilton, 66 mins).
Coleraine: Ferry, Mullan, Beverland, Douglas, McIlmoyle, Owens (Jennings, 78 mins), Tommons, Hegarty, McNeill, Browne, McDaid.
Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Dundonald).