Glenavon seal shock win over champions Linfield at Mourneview Park
Glenavon 1 Linfield 0
Robert Garrett’s first goal of the season earned Glenavon a shock win over Danske Bank Premiership champions Linfield at Mourneview Park on Friday night.
Although it’s been a season to forget for Gary Hamilton’s team, they produced their best performance of the campaign to pinch a result that will ease their relegation worries.
The last time the teams met, the Blues romped to a 7-0 win at Windsor Park on September 28 – so revenge is sweet for Hamilton and his troops.
Incredibly, it was their first League win since October 19 when the took all three points at Warrenpoint Town.
As for Linfield, it’s another body blow in the wake of their Champions Cup final defeat by Dundalk a few weeks back.
The Blues were almost in front on five minutes. Shayne Lavery used his body strength to get past Andrew Doyle on the right and, after leaving Caolan Marron in his wake, his left-footed drive fizzed past the post.
But the home team responded in a positive manner which resulted in Blues goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson producing a smart save from Josh Daniels’ teasing shot after a clever building up involving player-boss Gary Hamilton and Andy Mitchell.
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It was end-to-end stuff. The Blues threatened again on 15 minutes with Kirk Millar whipping in a corner kick from the left that was met by Mark Stafford, but his thumping header was somehow smuggled away by Johnny Tuffey.
The Blues then had a penalty shout turned away by referee Andrew Davey, when Cooper appeared to be hauled down by Aaron Harmon – the Bangor official wasn’t interested.
But the action quickly switched to the other end with Ferguson producing a remarkable double save to deny a blockbuster from Garrett before keeping out the follow up form Hamilton.
Against all the odds the home side were on front on 26 minutes. Mitchell cleverly laid off a pass into the path of Garrett, who tried his luck from 20 yards, but his shot took a wicked deflection off Stafford, which completely wrong-footed Ferguson.
The Blues should really have been on terms within 60 seconds. Matty Clarke’s corner kick was met by Bastien Hery, but from practically under the crossbar, Lavery shamefully headed over the top.
Glenavon had another sniff at goal four minutes before the interval. Rhys Marshall picked out the unmarked Mitchell, but he lofted his shot hopelessly over the crossbar.
Linfield roared from the traps and were almost level on 48 minutes. Clarke’s corner was met by Callacher, but his downward header was brilliantly pawed to safety by Tuffey.
But the visitors had to rely on the reflexes of Ferguson to keep them in the game – and on both occasions he thwarted the threat of Mitchell.
He got down to save a low shot from the big striker after a cute touch from Daniels . . . and then minutes later, he brilliantly beat away a stinging drive after Mitchell was put through by James Singleton’s raking pass.
Then, it was the turn of Tuffey to show his class at the other end, getting down smartly to beat away a blistering 20-yard drive from Hery.
Glenavon were almost out of sight 17 minutes form time when Daniels left Chris Casement in his wake, but again Ferguson was equal to his low shot.
GLENAVON: Tuffey, Marron, Doyle, Daniels, Marshall, Mitchell (Murray 80), Harmon, Beggs (McCloskey 77), Singleton, Garrett, Hamilton (Wearen 72).
Unused subs: Taylor, Burns, Hunter, Jenkins.
LINFIELD: Ferguson, Casement, Stafford (Waterworth 46), Callacher, Clarke, Mulgrew, Fallon, Millar, Hery (Reynolds 77), Cooper, Lavery.
Unused subs: Moore, Robinson, McGivern, Mitchell, Shevlin.
REFEREE: Andrew Davey.
Man of the match: Josh Daniels.
Match rating 7/10.
Belfast Telegraph Digital