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Alan Kernaghan tips Jonathan Smith for bright Glentoran future

Glentoran 2-0 Glenavon

By Keith Bailie

Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan believes teenager Jonathan Smith could play a central role in his side's revival.

Smith scored the opening goal in the Glens' 2-0 win over Glenavon at The Oval on Saturday when he nodded home a 33rd-minute Stephen McCullough free-kick.

Smith, just 18-years-old, joined the club from Ipswich Town in the summer and made his debut under Eddie Patterson.

The former boss preferred to deploy him as a winger, but Kernaghan believes Smith is better as either a centre forward or in the hole.

"Jonathan is doing everything we ask of him. He has showed us energy, he has showed us commitment, and he's scored a couple of important goals," said Kernaghan.

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"I felt he was stuck out on the wing and I don't see that as his forte. I think he's better through the middle, should that be as a striker or behind the front man.

"I feel there is a lot more to come from him."

Midfielder Steven Gordon grabbed a second goal in the 87th minute. His curling effort deflected off Conor Dillion and looped beyond Glenavon goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey.

The 2-0 success was the first win of Kernaghan's Glentoran tenure.

He added: "I want my players to show bravery on the ball, but they've also got to keep calm when under the cosh.

"It's important that these players show their footballing ability because they've all got it. To do that you need strong characters, and they showed that character."

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton was in less jovial form. He believes that referee Andrew Davey's failure to award his side a penalty with the score at 0-0 had a major impact on the game.

Eoin Bradley clashed with defender Jonny Addis in the 25th minute, but was booked for simulation. Hamilton said: "We had a stonewall penalty turned down.

"If we scored that penalty it would have changed the game, but we didn't get it, just like we didn't get a few other decisions.

"There wasn't a physio on at any stage, yet we picked up six yellow cards. That's astounding."

Glentoran: Morris ; Holland, Addis, Magee, McCullough; Henderson (Hamill 81 mins); Caldwell, Gordon, McCaffrey; Smith, Allen

Subs not used: Hogg, Cafolla, Fearon, O'Hanlon

Goals: Smith, Gordon

Glenavon: Tuffey; Kelly (Hamilton 79 mins), Dillon, Lindsay, Marshall; Hall, Kilmartin, Sykes, Cooper (Patton 72 mins); Kearns, Bradley (O'Brien 85 mins)

Subs not used: McCrory, Neill.

Man of the match: Jonathan Smith

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Andrey Davey (Bangor)

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