Warrenpoint's win at Glenavon is no fluke, warns hat-trick hero
Glenavon 1 Warrenpoint Town 3
Philip Donnelly's hat-trick helped Warrenpoint Town to a shock 3-1 win over high-flying Glenavon at Mourneview Park - and the striker insisted it was a result that had been coming.
Only their second away win all season, the 'Point defied their lowly position with a well-executed away performance, taking them up to eighth in the Premiership table.
Indeed, but for the efforts of Jonny Tuffey in the Lurgan Blues' goal things could have been a lot worse for the off-colour hosts.
But that is to take nothing away from Warrenpoint, who were the better side in all aspects.
"It's a nice way to go into the new year," said Donnelly. "Everything seemed to go our way, but that's no fluke, that performance has been coming.
"It's massive for us, even from a coaching point of view that's something we've been crying out for and long may it continue, because we're definitely capable of doing that regularly."
The writing was on the wall early on for Glenavon when Alan O'Sullivan, who was excellent beside Donnelly, hit the post.
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At the other end, Rhys Marshall was seemingly fouled in the box only to see a yellow card brandished his way for a dubious simulation call, while Stephen Murray skewed an effort wide after Josh Daniels' pull back.
Despite still being available, 'Point boss McDonnell opted to leave Dundalk-bound goalkeeper Aaron McCarey on the bench, with Berraat Turker given the start, and his decision was justified when the German made a brilliant instinct stop to deny Murray when he deflected Andy Mitchell's low ball towards goal.
That stop was rewarded when the visitors took the lead five minutes from the break, O'Sullivan evading the challenge of Caolan Marron and putting it into the centre where Donnelly finished into the top corner.
The lead quickly became two four minutes after the restart, this time O'Sullivan blocking a clearance from Marron which fell to Donnelly, and the striker fired low under the diving Tuffey.
The keeper was called upon to deny O'Sullivan again after a good pass from Deane Watters, although O'Sullivan should have scored with the follow-up only to miss from a yard out.
Donnelly thought he had his hat-trick when he prodded home a rebound from an O'Sullivan effort, only to be denied by the offside flag, but he did complete his treble with 15 minutes remaining from another rebound.
Glenavon scored a late consolation through Daniels, but the Lurgan Blues have only two wins in their last 11 league games and are now eight points off the pace.
GLENAVON: Tuffey, King (Muir, 65 mins), Marron, Marshall, Mitchell, Grace, Hall (Donnelly, 65 mins), Harmon, Daniels, Singleton, Murray (Jenkins, 53 mins). Subs not used: Larmour, Geraghty, Taylor, Barr.
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Turker, Foster, Hughes, Reilly, McGrandles, O'Sullivan, McCaffrey (Kelly, 80 mins), M Lynch (J Lynch, 65 mins), Watters (Moan, 84 mins), Wallace, Donnelly. Subs not used: McCarey, Griffin.
Referee: Jamie Robinson (Lurgan)