Ruthless Leeds put Glenavon festivities in the shade
Leeds United failed to enter into the party spirit during Glenavon's evening of celebration at Mourneview Park, sweeping their hosts aside in convincing style.
Young midfielder Chris Dawson claimed a hat-trick before Matt Smith and Eoghan Stokes got in on the scoring act to underline the English side's supremacy under the Lurgan lights.
Incorporated into Glenavon's 125th anniversary festivities, last night's encounter was formally arranged as part of the deal which saw rising star Robbie McDaid move between the clubs this summer.
The hotshot striker, who burst onto the Irish League scene when he blasted a deadly 20-minute double in Glenavon's 4-2 victory over Mid-Ulster derby rivals Portadown in February, had been tracked by a host of clubs before opting to put pen to paper with the fallen Yorkshire giants.
Unfortunately for his former employers, however, McDaid was not part of Leeds' travelling party as the fixture coincided with his international commitments in the north-west, with the 17-year-old striker receiving a red card for his part in a melee during Northern Ireland's 2-1 win over Mexico in the Elite section of the Dale Farm Milk Cup.
Though his absence had frustrated Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton, it was never likely to deter the punters and in excess of 3,000 spectators crammed into a sold-out Mourneview, where a cameo appearance by Northern Ireland's record goalscorer David Healy added further attraction to the occasion for the Lurgan Blues faithful.
Leeds' squad comprised a combination of youth and experience, with a host of players afforded an opportunity to further stake their claims for a place in the team for their Championship opener against Millwall next Saturday.
One of their most recognised names was in the thick of the action early on, but Matt Smith – linked with a switch to Crystal Palace during the January transfer window – headed straight at goalkeeper James McGrath.
A neat move between Guy Bates and Eoin Bradley was snuffed out just minutes before Dawson opened the scoring but any subdued spirits among the Glenavon support were immediately lifted when Healy, who made more than 100 appearances for Leeds between 2004 and 2007, entered the fray in place of Tiarnan Mulvenna.
It wasn't long before he went close to getting his name on the scoresheet only for Paddy Kenny to gather his free-kick at the second attempt.
The second period was just two minutes old when Dawson got the better of substitute keeper Alan Blayney with an eye-catching individual effort and the 19-year-old completed his hat-trick from the spot shortly afterwards after Rhys Marshall had been penalised for fouling Smith inside the area.
And it was Smith who would register the next goal when he nodded home from an Alex Mowatt cross before himself providing the delivery from which Stokes put the seal on an emphatic success.
GLENAVON: McGrath, Marshall, Dillon, Lindsay, Neill, Rainey, Bradley, Braniff, Kilmartin, Bates,Mulvenna. Subs: Hamilton, Foley, McCallion, Blayney, Murphy, Dane, Healy, Lowry, McKeown.
LEEDS: Kenny, Berardi, Taylor, Purver, Killock, Skelton, Phillips, Poleon, Dawson, Mowatt, Smith. Subs: Cairns, Stokes, Denton, Coker, Cook, Swann.