Glenavon are throwing points away, says assistant Paul Millar
Glenavon 3 Institute 3
It was little wonder that Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton left immediately after the match to sign Sligo Rovers central defender Seamus Sharkey.
The Lurgan Blues have now conceded seven goals in their last three games and won only one of their last five with Premiership newcomers Institute the latest to leave Mourneview Park with a point.
Indeed, it needed an 87th minute equaliser from substitute Conor McCloskey to deny Institute a first Premiership victory in 49 games when the opposition have scored but Glenavon assistant manager Paul Millar knows it was two points dropped by the title contenders.
"If you score three goals at home you shouldn't drop a point. Especially with what we are striving for," he said. "These are games we need to win.
"We switched off at the back because we had so much going the other way. The second goal came from a stupid free kick, we were ball-watching. As an 11 we need to defend better.
"We've done incredibly well to get where we are but we are throwing points away. It's frustrating."
Stephen Murray had given Glenavon a sixth minute lead but when the defence went AWOL, Joe McCready and Mark Scotlock cashed in to put Institute in front before Andrew Mitchell denied Murray his second by tapping in his goalbound effort just before it crossed the line.
Michael McCrudden restored the visitors' lead 10 minutes into the second half and Rhys Marshall cleared Caoimhin Bonner's header off the line almost immediately afterwards to leave boss Paddy McLoughlin a happy man, despite the late equaliser.
"It was another top performance," he said. "Playing against a top quality side, we appreciate our point. It could easily have been three, but they could have stolen it in injury time, so can't be too negative."
Glentoran, Ballymena and Cliftonville are next up for Institute so it doesn't get any easier but McLaughlin says his players are embracing the challenge.
"Coming up from the Championship we know every game is going to be massive but so far the boys have acquitted themselves very well," he added.
"Our boys are getting stronger, developing rapidly and as long they keep doing that we'll be ok."
GLENAVON: Tuffey, Marshall, Marron, Singleton, Doherty, Hall (McCloskey, 67 mins), Clingan, Sykes, Daniels; Murray (Jenkins, 78 mins), Mitchell. Unused subs: King, Larmour, Harmon, Hamilton, Muir.
Institute: Gallagher, Wilson, Bonner, Scoltock, D Curry, Jarvis, A Harkin (McCallion, 85 mins), Doherty, Dunne (Brown, 79 mins), McCrudden, McCready (Morrow, 90 mins). Unused subs: S Curry, Moorehead, N Harkin, McIntyre.
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)
Man of the match: Aaron Jarvis
Match rating: 8/10