GLENTORAN boss Eddie Patterson saluted Mark Clarke, who was a hero at both ends of the pitch at the Oval on Saturday.
The 22 year old was drafted in as a makeshift centre back because of an injury crisis that has gripped the East Belfast club, but he also popped up with a crucial winner to help pinch three Premier League points
Richard Clarke shot the Glens into a first half lead, which was wiped out by a superb effort from Marc Brown.
Mark Clarke than abandoned his defensive duties, roaring forward to nod the winner.
“That’s the kind of player Mark is,” beamed Glens boss Eddie Pattterson.
“He played in that role at Cliftonville on few occasions for me. He can play all over the park – he has great versatility.
“We know what he can do, that’s why we brought him to the club. He looked as though he has played there (centre-back) all season.
“His performance was rewarded with the winning goal.
“Mark is a young lad still learning the game . . . the same as O’Hanlon, McGuigan and Murray. I think he would do a job no matter where we put him.”
Patterson admitted he was relieved to end a losing streak – it was his team’s first victory in four league starts – but was disappointed with the number of chances that were squandered.
“We played some fantastic stuff in the first half – and the game should really have been over at that stage,” he added. “But as we do frequently, we gifted our opponents a way back into the game.
“Fortunately, we struck back almost immediately – something we had failed to do in previous games.
“Overall, I’m delighted with the result and the points.
“We had eight players out injured and our goalkeeper Elliott Morris suspended, so I’ve got to be pleased.”
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton pointed the finger at his ailing troops, accusing them of lacking in mental toughness.
“It’s not good enough,” he said. “It’s down to individual errors and not being mentally tuned in.
“If you give people the jobs at set pieces, it’s about being mentally strong to do that. But Clarke was left with an easy header.
“Last week we conceded a winner (against Ballymena) a few seconds after equalising.
“Today we lost a goal two minutes after drawing level.
“Our concentration and discipline wasn’t right. It’s such a pity because I though we could certainly have earned a draw.
“We felt we were well in the game in the second half.
“We forced Glentoran to use the long ball . . . and you don’t usually see that at the Oval, but we have to toughen up,”