Glenavon 0-2 Cliftonville
Levi Ives’ sensational free-kick set Cliftonville on course for an impressive victory over Glenavon at Mourneview Park this afternoon.
The Reds were rewarded for their bright start when Ives swept a set-piece past the despairing dive of goalkeeper James Taylor with 17 minutes on the clock and, after Rory Hale and Kris Lowe had gone close in advance of Jonny Addis being denied by the crossbar, the win was sealed when Ryan Curran found the net in the second-half.
Despite starting the contest in lively fashion, Cliftonville were grateful for Ives’ defensive instincts in turning a dangerous James Singleton delivery behind before Mark Stafford failed to test goalkeeper Luke McNicholas from the subsequent corner delivery.
Having threatened to break the deadlock through Hale, the visitors got the goal their enterprising display deserved when a foul on Jamie McDonagh earned a free-kick which Ives stepped up to slam home.
Stafford sent an effort over the top as Glenavon sought a quick reply but it was at the other end that the next goal appeared most likely and it almost came from Lowe but he was only able to find the side netting with his half-volley.
Hale went close again with a long-range attempt that whistled just over the top and there was no let-up from Cliftonville after the break, with Addis seeing his header from McDonagh’s corner beat keeper Taylor only to strike the bar.
The Reds would not, however, have long to wait for their second goal. Lowe did well to retrieve the ball to thwart a Lurgan Blues counter attack and, when he slipped possession to Hale, the midfielder’s delivery eventually found Curran, who took a touch to set himself before finding the net via the post.
Visiting fans claimed that Curran had been denied a second when Matthew Snoddy headed his fierce effort off the line ahead of McDonagh being denied by the feet of Taylor as Cliftonville maintained their dominance until the final whistle.
Cliftonville: McNicholas, Ives, C Curran, Hale (Donnelly, 65 mins), R Curran, O’Neill (Gormley, 84 mins), McDonagh (Kearns, 90 mins), Lowe, Addis, Doherty, Turner. Unused subs: G Breen, Foster, Casey, Coates.