Handy Andy breaks his Glentoran duck
Andy Waterworth’s first goal for the Glens left the East Belfast giants clinging on to a one point lead at the top of the table – with Glenavon reflecting on a fifth defeat in a row and their eighth in 11 league starts.
Waterworth left the bench in the 68th minute of a no-holds barred Mourneview Park contest to grab the match-winner with a majestic strike.
He was only on the rain sodden pitch seven minutes when a magical move involving Man-of-the-Match Gary Hamilton helped clinch all three precious points in the title race.
Hamilton produced the precision lay-off and Waterworth did the rest turning exquisitely in the box before slotting the ball past second half substitute goalkeeper Tuda Murphy.
Earlier – in the 17th minute – Hamilton celebrated his new three year contract with the crucial strike which broke the deadlock in a game in which lowly Glenavon were giving as good as they got.
Hammy made the most of Glenavon’s hesitancy in dealing with Kyle Neill’s in-swinging corner to nudge the ball home in a crowded goalmouth.
Glenavon equalised through Tony Grant with just over half-an-hour gone but could have already been in the lead.
With just six minutes on the clock Ryan Harpur produced a tantalising cross to the back post where the lurking Trevor Malloy somehow contrived not to get a touch.
And within minutes Glens keeper Elliott Morris drove a clearance against Willo McDonagh which rebounded past him but hit the inside of a post and bounced clear.
A let off which prompted this comment from home boss Stephen McBride:”That’s the way things have been going for us. We’re not getting the breaks.”
Glens boss Alan McDonald reflected on a hard-earned three points, saying: “I expected a tough match and we got one. It was even in the first half but we dictated the game more in the second half.
“Had we taken the chances we created we could have finished more comfortably.
“It was a very hard fought game and Glenavon look like a team which is in a false position.”
Hamilton’s goal capped off a great day for him having agreed to stay at the Oval for a further three years and perhaps longer.
He said: “I’ve signed what amounts to a new four year deal, three years with an option for another year. It is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now but I had to wait until the club approached me.
“I was lucky the club approached me in the last couple of weeks and we’ve gone ahead with things.
“It was all done and dusted in a matter of minutes. Maybe now it put an end to all the rumours and speculation.
“To be honest I was sick of it all because while I was hearing and reading these things and it was all a load of rubbish. No-one came and asked me what the situation was. At the end of the day I’m happy to be staying at Glentoran although I’ve always said that at some stage I would like to play for Glenavon the team I supported as a boy.”
Daryl Fordyce has also signed a new deal which will keep him part of McDonald’s squad for the next two years.
McBride would have liked to elaborate on other happenings but having just been handed a letter from the IFA demanding a response to previous remarks he is alleged to have made about a referee he hesitated.
But he did venture: “All decisions seem to be going against us.
“Tackle after tackle was going in and there was persistent fouling by individual players in the Glentoran side but none was booked.
“I cannot go down the line of criticising referees otherwise I might get another letter from the IFA.
“But the media sees what is happening and maybe they should write about it.”