Glenavon 3-1 Cliftonville
Cliftonville slumped to a lacklustre defeat as Glenavon comfortably pocketed all three points at a rain-lashed Mourneview Park this afternoon.
Trailing to Andrew Mitchell’s early opener, the Reds fell further behind when Andy Hall and Marc Griffin each pounced to extend the Lurgan Blues’ advantage before Joe Gormley registered a consolation.
What minimal hope the visitors had of staging an implausible late comeback was snuffed out when defender Garry Breen was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the closing stages.
Things could barely have got off to a worse start for Cliftonville when, with the aid of a deflection off Jaimie McGovern, Mitchell found the net from Hall’s eighth-minute assist, while the opportunity to claim a quick equaliser was shut down when referee Arnold Hunter called play back for a Reds free-kick despite Gormley setting Jay Donnelly in the clear.
Rory Donnelly saw a header turned goalward by Glenavon defender Andrew Doyle, forcing goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey into a reflex save, while the ref’s failure to once again apply the advantage rule after Daniel Hughes had wriggled his way past a poor Mitchell challenge earned him further ire from the visiting support.
The hosts doubled their lead six minutes after the interval when Hall rose to meet Bobby Burns’ hanging delivery and their third arrived with a quarter of an hour left on the clock; Griffin getting a telling touch on Hall’s wicked cross.
Cliftonville reduced the arrears soon later when Jay Donnelly threaded Gormley through and the striker touched possession round the advancing Tuffey before rolling it into the empty net, but that would prove to be a rare highlight on an afternoon of misery that was compounded when Breen – earlier booked following a confrontation with Sammy Clingan – picked up his second card for a foul on Hall.
CLIFTONVILLE: Long, McGovern, Breen, Curran, Hughes, Bagnall, Gormley, J Donnelly, Cosgrove, A Donnelly, R Donnelly. Subs: Neeson, Harney, M Donnelly, Caldwell, Lavery (R Donnelly).
Half Gate Draw number: 64696