CLIFTONVILLE 3 GLENAVON 3
Two late Ciaran Martyn goals helped the midfielder secure a hat-trick and earned Glenavon a battling draw in an unlikely comeback against Cliftonville.
The former Glentoran man had originally opened the scoring and, after a Joe Gormley double and Davy McDaid had put the Reds 3-1 up, Martyn pounced to reduce the arrears with just minutes to spare before bundling home an equaliser to clam the matchball in injury-time.
Eoin Bradley went close to banking a fourth minute opener for the visitors before Martyn stroked home the ex-Coleraine striker’s delivery as Glenavon were rewarded for an enterprising start.
They were pegged back, however, when Gormley levelled on 19 minutes and found themselves behind when the current Ulster Footballer of the Year registered his second of the afternoon shortly afterwards.
Cliftonville saw a host of chances come and go before McDaid - making his home debut - looked to have wrapped things up when he got the better of Alan Blayney on 66 minutes, but the Lurgan Blues gave their hosts something to think about when Martyn found the bottom corner to set up a tense finale.
Player-boss Gary Hamilton introduced himself from the bench and his first contribution was to send a free-kick against the underside of the bar; Andy McGrory unable to steer his point-blank follow-up on target.
Glenavon didn’t give up, however, and their pressure paid off just after the injury-time board had been produced when Martyn got the telling touch in a busy penalty area, touching the ball beyond Conor Devlin and into the far corner to earn his side a share of the spoils.
CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, Scannell, Johnston, Flynn, Curran, McMullan, McDaid, M Donnelly, Smyth, Catney, Gormley. Subs: McGovern (for Smyth, 27 mins), Garrett (for Donnelly, 71 mins), Knowles, Winchester (Curran, 82 mins), Cosgrove.
GLENAVON: Blayney, McKeown, Neill, Bates, Bradley, Dillon, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, McCabe, Martyn, Braniff, McCabe. Subs: McCallion (for Dillon, 58 mins), Kilmartin, Hamilton (for Braniff, 83 mins), Foley (for Braniff, 89 mins), Hoey.
REFEREE: Andrew Davey (Bangor)