IRISH LEAGUE: Glenavon’s Andrew Hall shines as Cliftonville crumble

Glenavon's Mark Griffin celebrates his goal
Glenavon's Mark Griffin celebrates his goal

Remember the name Andrew Hall.

The Glenavon midfielder has remained under the radar for some unknown reason in recent campaigns but this season opposing teams will know all about him as he proved on Saturday as he scored one and played the final ball for the other two Glenavon strikes.

Hall strokes and caresses the ball around the park and if Glenavon are going to do something this season - he will be one of the main reasons why.

And Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton also has other reasons to be cheerful as striker Andrew Mitchell will score goals.

Midfield duo Sammy Clingan and Mark Sykes have gelled well together. Former Northern Ireland international Clingan keeps them ticking over while Sykes - who can also play - does the work of three men.

Add to that Rhys Marshall - who can play well anywhere - and the Lurgan Blues could do well this season - but time will tell.

Saturday’s match had a recipe for goals with both sides having players who know how to score - Andrew Mitchell and Gormley are both known for finding the back of the net.

One of those of those players who knows how to score opened his account in the eighth minute as Glenavon’s Mitchell fired home from an Andrew Hall pass.

Mitchell scored 25 league goals for Dungannon Swifts last season and the talented striker is capable of matching that or even bettering it this season if he continues in this rich vein of form.

The visitors nearly levelled in the 19th minute through Rory Donnelly. His header was on target but Jonathan Tuffey saved well. The former Linfield keeper has grown in stature since leaving Windsor Park for Mourneview Park and he is among the best in the division.

In the 26th minute Reds keeper Brett Long thought he was Naymar and tried to dance his way out of trouble after being closed down by Bobby Burns.

That didn’t go to plan and the keeper was lucky to get away with a bye ball - when it could have been a lot worse.

The Reds Jay Donnelly then left two Glenavon defenders in his wake in the 34th minute - broke clear - before tripping over the ball and the chance was lost. It summed up the Reds afternoon so far.

Mitchell could have got his second off the afternoon in the 41st minute. The striker just failing to connect with a speeding cross from Burns. It was a let off for the Reds.

Six minutes into the second half it was 2-0. Burns crossed it from the left and Andrew Hall’s header left Reds keeper Long with no chance.

It was not the start to the second half that Cliftonville boss Barry Gray would have wanted. His side now have a mountain to climb but could they fight back?

They tried and Daniel Huges long range effort fell well off target and that about summed up Cliftonville’s afternoon.

The Reds did have a chance in the 70th minute. Tomas Cosgrove’s corner found the head of Aaron Donnelly but it was off target.

It was 3-0 to Hamilton’s side in the 75th minute. Hall found Griffan and he left Long with no chance and it was basically game over.

But hold on Cliftonville were not done and out just yet as Gormley made it 3-1 in the 80th minute. The striker rounding keeper Tuffey to score his fourth league goal of the season.

And on a day when Canelo Alvarez faces Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas in a massive World title - Glenavon boss Hamilton joined in as he punched the dug-out after a decision by the referee. The Glenavon boss was not happy. Hamilton again sprung off the bench in the 86th minute as Gary Breen pulled down Hall to be shown his second yellow of the day and his marching orders.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Burns (Griffan 55mins), Kelly, Doyle, Daniels (Foley, 88mins), Marshall, Mitchell (Jordan Jenkins 78mins), Hall, Sykes, Clingan. Singleton.

Subs not used: Marron, McGrory.

Cliftonville: Long, McGovern, Breen, Curran, Hughes, Bagnell, Gormley, J Donnelly, Cosgrove, A Donnelly, R Donnelly (Lavery 80mins).

Subs not used: Neeson, Harney, M Donnelly, Caldwell.

Referee: A Hunter