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Kearns proves his top quality with double to send Glenavon fourth

Glenavon 2-0 Carrick Rangers 0

By David Mason

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton will be desperate to keep Daniel Kearns at Mourneview Park.

The 24-year-old last night produced another majestic performance, bagging both goals in the Lurgan Blues' 2-0 triumph over Carrick Rangers to send his side into fourth place in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Signed from Dundalk in October, the former West Ham man showed once again that he is one of the hottest properties in the league - he has bagged five goals since his move.

Kearns was replaced by Declan O'Brien in the final minute, and he fully deserved the standing ovation he received from the home faithful.

The game was played in dreadful conditions. It was ruined in many ways by the swirling wind and driving rain.

It was Hamilton's men who almost took advantage of the elements on five minutes when Kyle Neill's free-kick fell invitingly for Rhys Marshall, whose shot was deflected inches over the crossbar by Daniel Kelly.

Carrick threatened for the first time on 16 minutes with Conor McCloskey's trickery taking him clear of Kris Lindsay, which forced the big defender to haul down the flying winger.

McCloskey's free-kick looked destined for the net until Simon Kelly headed the ball clear.

Glenavon upped the tempo with Carrick goalkeeper Brian Neeson establishing himself with a series of saves.

He got both fists to another Neill free-kick when under pressure from Eoin Bradley, before he beat away another fierce cross from Andy Hall.

Then, just before the break, Joe McNeill's lunge at Marshall earned the home team another free-kick. This time, Neill's effort landed on the roof of the netting, with Neeson struggling.

But Glenavon broke the deadlock on 55 minutes. Marshall steamed into the penalty box and just as he was about to pull the trigger, he was crudely brought down by McNeill.

Referee Raymond Hetherington awarded the penalty, which was smartly finished by the impressive Kearns.

Rangers responded with Adam Dick's neat flick picking out Brian McCaul, whose first-time effort forced Johnny Tuffey into action.

Tuffey then produced a wonderful save to keep out Rangers skipper Aaron Harmon.

But that man Kearns struck again with 16 minutes remaining. Joel Cooper carved open the Rangers defence and threaded the ball to Kearns, who fired home.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Neill (Dillon 77), Kelly, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper (McGrory 87), Bradley, Hall, Sykes, Kearns (O'Brien 89).

Subs not used: Patton, Hamilton.

Carrick Rangers: Neeson, McCaul, Kelly, Harmon, McNeill, Cherry (Kane 77), Roy (Chines 68), McCloskey, Johnston, Dick (Browne 82), Doyle.

Subs not used: Surgenor, Taggart.

Referee: R Hetherington (Dungannon).

Match rating: 7/10.

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